Play the Hand

“A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.”

What do you make of that statement? It’s sort of like we say in Texas, “Play the hand you’re dealt.”

Those are actually the words of John the Baptist in response to some of his worried disciples. It seems Jesus and His disciples were also baptizing on the other side of the Jordan River “and everyone was going over to him (John 1:26).” Jesus’ group was growing and John’s was shrinking. And all this didn’t settle too well with them.
John’s reply was to the point: A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. He knew his role and was content within his role. His job was to point others to Jesus as Messiah and then get out of the way. Or as John would say a few verses later: “He must become greater; I must become less (v.30).”
John’s role was specific. John’s role was important. In many ways, John’s role was difficult. But John’s role was one he received from heaven.
Some hands are hard to play. I’ve watched some of you walk through dark times, accept difficult challenges. Others are there now and none of us have any idea.
Other hands are still to be dealt. God alone knows the future. We live on this timeline of earth while God is above the line. He’s the paper on which the line is drawn.
But John said something else about his role. He said it was joyful. “That joy is mine and it is now complete (v. 29). John found joy in the journey. And so can you.
Trust the Lord. The problem for the follower of Christ is NOT that you can only receive what’s given you from heaven. Your problem (assuming there may be one) is more likely you’re receiving only a portion of what God has to offer you from heaven. You must position yourself to receive what is to be given you from heaven. I believe God has more in store for you than you realize.
But as we position ourselves before God through prayer, through time alone with Him, through the daily emptying of ourselves, we position ourselves to receive what the Lord has in store. Until then, it may remain in storage.
“For God gives the Spirit without limit (v. 34).” He isn’t slack in His giving. He is generous to the surrendered, to those who trust Him and walk with Him.
Will you trust Him today? Will you position yourself to receive whatever He may have for you? Will you walk with Him and play the hand He deals? If you do you will find joy. That joy will be yours and your joy will be complete.

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