Chosen Reflections: Do Whatever He Tells You
I love the account of Jesus’s first miracle at the wedding in Cana when He turned water into wine. What’s not to love? Two people beginning a new life together. Family and friends gathered to celebrate. Throw in a bonus miracle, and the event is nothing short of perfection for the happy couple. The Chosen mini-series brought the entire event to life in such a plausible way that I felt as if I were there.
The wine runs out, and Mary takes the servants aside to give them one simple instruction: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). I can’t help but wonder what instructions they expected. Would He give them money to purchase more wine from a nearby source? Perhaps He would provide grape juice as a poor substitute. Regardless, “whatever” He asked, they readied themselves to obey.
Turns out, the command was not complicated. Fill a bunch of large water pots with . . . water. That’s it. Water? They must have shook their heads in pity for the bride’s family. This was shaping up to be an unmitigated disaster to be hashed and rehashed at the town well for weeks! Still, they obeyed. And their obedience brought blessing to every attendee.
If I had been there, I’d like to think I would have been the first to do “whatever” He told me. Pour water till my arms lost their strength? You got it!
But I wasn’t there. I’m here, two-thousand years later. And I confess, I’m not always so eager and ready to do what He tells me to do. Sometimes I want to wait until I know what the instruction is before I decide whether to obey. Other times, even when I know what He tells me to do, I hesitate, holding back as I imagine my own agenda and desires disappearing in the morning mist. Worse yet, I may know what He, through His Word tells me to do, and I flat out don’t do it. “Whatever” is nice in theory, but when reality stares me square in the face? That can be another thing entirely.
Can you relate? For example, God’s Word has much to say on these areas of life:
- Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (ESV).
What lurks beneath the surface of our sweet smiles at church on Sunday morning . . . or any other day of the week? How often do we nurture thoughts of resentment or self-pity? Unforgiveness or pride?
- Philippians 4:8 commands us to focus our thoughts on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
There’s that “whatever” again! All these positive choices—honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent—yet how often does our thought life take a different direction?
- Ephesians 4:29 commands us to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (ESV).
Ah, the power of the tongue. Such a small muscle, yet strong enough to destroy individuals and relationships. How easy is it for us to say something sarcastic or flippant, then dismiss it with a wave and an “I’m only kidding.” The 17th century poet, Wentworth Dillon, once said, “Words once spoken can never be recalled.” Are you and I willing to “practice the pause” before we open our mouth?
- Colossians 4:6 reminds us to let our speech “always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (ESV).
One of my mother’s favorite admonitions to her children was “Think before you speak!” Unfortunately, my words frequently modeled a different motto: “Open mouth, insert foot!” Are you and I willing to do whatever the Lord tells us regarding our words?
- Colossians 3:17 commands us that in “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (ESV).
Sigh. Yet another whatever. Can you and I truly say that whatever we do is consistent with the character (name) of Jesus Christ? If not, what needs to change?
- First John 3:18 tells us, “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (ESV).
This verse sounds a lot like “Put your money where your mouth is.” Do we just talk about love, or do we show it? And when we show it, how selective are we about the circumstances? Do we love our enemies, or just the people we like? Do our deeds manifest love all the time or only when it’s convenient?
“Do whatever He tells you.” In Cana it meant filling water pots. What does whatever look like for you today?
(This is sixth in a series of blog posts inspired by The Chosen, a multi-season series about the life of Jesus and His followers. Each post will highlight a quote sourced from Season 1. Previous posts include:
- Chosen Reflections: I Have Called You By Name
- Chosen Reflections: The Difference
- Chosen Reflections: Provision
- Chosen Reflections: Purpose
- Chosen Reflections: Fishers of Men