The Practical Work
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
(M) Well, let me read this scripture to you, this amazing scripture. See, the work we do, even the practical work has a value if Christ does it.
(M) Everything Christ does is going to be rewarded, and everything He does through you, through you, Jennifer, you will be rewarded for letting Him work. Ok, this is what Paul is saying to the carnal Corinthians, “Each man’s”… Let me read it in the Amplified. “The work of each one will become plainly, openly known, shown for what it is, for the day of Christ will disclose and declare it.” In other words, our work is going to be examined on the day of Christ’s return, or the great day of His judgment, our work is going be evaluated.
(M) It says, and I’ve often, I’ve often worked by this premise that there’s no labor in the Lord that is not rewarded; the trick is ‘in the Lord’.
(J) In the Lord. Hmhmm.
(M) Ok, The day will be, the day of Christ will disclose and declare the work of each individual; this is not the church, this is the individual, “because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this foundation, any product of his efforts, survives this test, he will get his reward. But if any man’s, any person’s work is burned up, he will suffer the loss of it.” And he goes on to say you have to work on the foundation of Christ. I used to say what is that? I understand it now. The foundation is Christ in me. I’m working out from the work of the Lord Himself through me. And I tended, you know this, especially John, I have tended to put physical labor ‘outside’, and the work of the Lord, in the writing ministry, the quiet time, the things, and so forth. It has been, I’m ashamed to say, but maybe someone else out there has the same experience. He has been, He has had to forcefully invade my physical labor with Himself. So that, it’s like the day I spilled the mayonnaise and whipped cream all over the kitchen, and I experienced the joy of Jesus to serve His Father in the futile mess. It was the most, one of the most incredible encounters with Jesus I’ve ever had. I have never seen, I had never seen before, the joy that Jesus had to do something for the Father, and it didn’t matter what it was, the smallest, most menial, nothing task. He was exuberant to clean up that, He in me was doing it for the Father. That’s something totally unknown to me on a natural basis, or to humanity, that delight and, and doing it for the Father; that was how Jesus worked; He was not involved with the work. And what He said to me recently explains it even further. It was like He said you don’t understand Martha, I was not entangled, involved in the work itself, I was involved with the Father in all that I did. And that experience, I’ve just now connected the two dots, that experience I had at the kitchen sink, one of the most mundane of human efforts, mopping up a mess I had made, there was His delight; He was so involved with the Father, to give something, just to give something to the Father, do something for the Father. It’s brother Lawrence, picking up a straw for the love of God. That’s not human, that is divine. So anyway, I’m gonna, I’m working on the work to write this out because it’s been… We admire effort. I believe, I have a law to myself of effort, and the more you’re free of that, the more life is lived in every phase of it, in the joy of the Lord, which is my strength. His joy was to work. His joy was to work for thirty years. And His joy was to work the Father’s pleasure.
(J) Well, because I didn’t have it, it’s not a part of my nature, obviously, but I’ve always had that prayer for you from almost the very beginning.
(M) Yes, you have.
(J) And it’s very strange, because it’s not like, it’s not like I was saying something that I had. It wasn’t a desire and a prayer for you for something I had, I possessed, I even understood, but I so wanted you to commune with Him at the kitchen sink. And that was my prayer.
(M) I am so grateful, John, it was the prayer I needed.
(J) But it was amazing because it had to have been Him, because it certainly wasn’t me, because I’m ‘king effort’. (Martha laughs.) And, and in the same way, blasphemy, you know, ‘effort is blasphemy’. That is so not me, so it’s amazing that He even…
(M) Hmhmm. That He gave it to you.
(J) That it even comes into my head at all, and heart, because it’s not me.
(M) And even as Paul is saying this, he talks about his, that he toiled unto weariness, and that he labored. But he also, as I think I put it somewhere in a recent taping, he labored with all the energy of the Lord. See, when He is the source of the energy to work, it’s not that there won’t be enormous physical effort and labor, (John: hmhmm.) it’s that there’s a surge of power going through you to do it. And at the end of it you’re tired. He labored unto weariness. You do, but there is an entirely different force, I guess I could say, when He is doing the work.
(J) I think I’ve ‘effort-ed’ unto weariness; I’ve worn myself out with effort, you know, in trying to do it, and that’s made me weary.
(M) I’m thinking of the story I told years ago, and I’ve told it several times, about the lemon éclairs. That was a story of work, where I had volunteered to do two hundred and fifty for a charity dinner. And when I went to do it, I had worked four days and I had seventy-five done, and I just collapsed, because I had worked so hard and it was such a mess. You had to do three recipes and put them together and then freeze them. Oh, it was just enormous, and it made me angry because I said, “Lord, you mean I can’t even cook? You told me I could do nothing, but does that include cooking that I do all of my life?” And so I said, “Ok, I give it to You.” And the order that came in, it was done easily, and those éclairs were so anointed at that charity dinner. The story is, you’ve probably heard it. But that was the first example of Christ demanding my physical labor so that He could enter it with His enormous order. What enters is an order that I’m not capable of, of, I don’t even know how, an organization that wouldn’t occur to me. It’s brilliant, when He comes in with His, His work, by the Spirit. When the Spirit takes over it’s beyond human ability. And I do, I experienced it in the garden after I failed. And I experience it in a lot of ways that… In writing, well, I’ll say the last booklet; in writing it over a period of days, then you have to look at it differently and put it in an order. So for me there’s two different phases of it; one is getting it into words, but the next one is putting it into sequence. And that is as fascinating a work as writing it because He puts it in order. It’s a brilliance that is beyond me, that I get to watch.
(J) Do you think that the only way we come to this is through failure of effort?
(M) Oh, yes! And amen! Yeah, you have to come the end of effort. And I wrote someone this. She was telling me, “Oh my goodness, I’ve just messed up and failed again, and I didn’t get it.” And I said, every… the process of coming to the spiritual life is Ishmael and Isaac, the natural, human… I’m going to achieve it is Ishmael. God said it, so I’ll achieve it one way or the other; and then the gift. One is I will do it, the other’s I will receive it. And you have to exhaust… And there’s a degree to which I don’t go to Ishmael as much as I used to because I know that I can’t do it. I don’t have it in me anymore to make the Ishmael have to go through that nightmare to get to the Isaac, the gift. But everything is giving. Everything is, God’s has given everything. He’s given the practical things. Oh I can’t, I couldn’t begin to relate the practical solutions He’s given me. Well I’ll tell a silly one. I’m in my garden obviously these days. And I’m growing in one of these self-watering boxes. So I struggled and struggled to get the thing level. I put it on a board; I couldn’t get the board level. I can’t tell you how I sweated and worked. And I did it so carefully and still couldn’t get it level; it has to be level. And I said, “Ok, Lord, You’re supposed to be my Husband. You tell me how to do this.” Very kindly, very graciously he said, “Gravel. Put the box on a bag of gravel. And when you do that you can arrange the gravel, you can jiggle the box, and it can be level in two or three minutes.” And I went, why didn’t I ask You in the beginning? Because I thought I knew, see. I know right and wrong, I know the right way to do it. And it was just so simple to Him; He was waiting. And He was very interested. He was, He has the brilliance of the universe! Immediate… What… All we have to… And I told the young tennis man, there are two things I want you to do; ask, and receive. Ask for the gift. Receive the gift. Receive a gift beyond you, beyond your ability, beyond your vision, receive; ask and receive.
(M) It just boils down to being so ridiculously simple that you look back on your life and say have I not been an idiot! That’s our experience here in Shulamite ministries, in our personal lives, until we come to the glorious rest. And it is real, it’s practical, it’s down to ‘gravel’. (Martha laughs.) Oh, so simple, so brilliant, made me fall in love with Him. For Him to be there in the tedium and nitty-gritty of life, for Him to be there in His brilliance…ahhhh…is just divine. It’s heaven on earth in discovering His brilliance in every, every possible thing; freely give us, and graciously give us all things. And He does, we’re seeing it ways, I’m telling you these little silly stories because the big ones can’t be told. Right?
(J) Right. (John laughs.)
(M) Are you all amazed? The definition of law is effort.