The Chair and the Desk, 1/21/16

From the chair:

“Yet [God] gave [Abraham] no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child…

…And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him…

…[Moses] supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand.”

-Acts 7:5,9,25

As Stephen tells the story, the history of God’s people is a history of outcasts with promises. Abraham left his people behind and did not see the people that would come from him, but he had faith in the promise. Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but he stayed faithful to the God of promise. Moses was rejected by those he came to help, but was called back when God was ready to fulfill the promise.

Of course, this all leads up to the ultimate outcast with a promise: “And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered” (v.52). The world cast out Jesus, the Righteous One, to Golgotha, where they killed him.

Yet, like Abraham, Joseph, and Moses–in fact, in place of Abraham, Joseph, and Moses–Jesus brought God’s promises. These promises not only survived his death, they not only vested in his death, they not only vested for him in his death, but the promises of God are now offered to us through the cross on which the world tried to cast out God. He burst forth from the grave , and now those who are in Christ may be cast out, but they are in the Spirit and the people of promise.

It’s frightening to be thrown off a ship, but it’s salvation to be thrown off a sinking ship into the arms of the rescuer. It’s hope to believe that this rescuer can even turn and rescue the ship from the depths, as he did Joseph’s brothers and Moses’ kin.

From the desk:

“The distinction between the artist and the man who is not an artist thus lies in the fact that the artist is living in the ‘way of grace,’ so far as his vocation is concerned. He is not necessarily an artist in handling his personal life, but (since his life is the material of his work) he has at least got thus far, that he is using life to make something new. Because of this, the pains and sorrows of this troublesome world can never, for him, be wholly meaningless and useless, as they are to the man who dumbly endures them and can (as he complains with only too much truth) ‘make nothing of them.’ If, therefore, we are to deal with our ‘problems’ in ‘a creative way,’ we must deal with them along the artist’s lines: not expecting to ‘solve’ them by a detective trick, but to ‘make something of them,’ even when they are, strictly speaking, insoluble.”

-Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (HarperOne 1987 ed.), p.193

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.


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