I’ve always had somewhat of a fascination with hands. I think I get that from my mom. I’ve always admired the intricacies of the fingers and the palms, and the stories our hands tell. Our hands can do horrific things, but they can do such beautiful things as well.
I was reading through some psalms earlier this week and stumbled upon Psalm 90:17: “… establish the work of our hand for us –yes, establish the work of our hands.” I began to wonder what it would look like if I asked God to establish the work of my hands. What exactly did that even mean? Here is how I interpreted it: to ask God to establish the work of my hands is to ask God how He would have me use my hands to love and serve the people He has created. So on this particular day, that is what I did. I asked God to establish the work of my hands and was hyper aware of everything my hands did that day.
Some of what my hands did looked like this:
- Wrapping my hands around a friend in a hug
- Using my hands to brush away the fine wisps of hair off a dozing toddler’s face during rest time at my job
- Tickling another toddler to hear their infectious giggles
- Holding the door open for someone entering a building behind me
- Picking up my phone to call my mom so she knows that I love her
But a lot of it looked like this:
- Blocking a hit from a wildly frustrated 2-year-old
- Wiping the tears from a devastated preschooler’s face
- Spontaneously cleaning a child’s vomit up off the floor (because no one can ever plan for this)
- Staying late to help a stressed head teacher at work
- Washing crusty snack dishes that reek of cheese cubes and turkey meat at the end of a long work day
- Taking out the trash
- Playing with the hair of a sad roommate
Now, I am in no way listing off these things to say, “hey, look what an amazing person I am, yay me!” because all of us use our hands to serve people everyday without even realizing it. But to show that many of these things weren’t pleasant things to do, yet they were all rewarding. They were rewarding because God had given me the mindset that this day wasn’t to serve me, but serve those around me. I feel like asking God to establish the work of our hands is similar to Colossians 3:23-24 which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Beautiful things happen when we turn our attention to those around us instead of ourselves. I believe there’s a reason our eyes look outward, at those around us, and not at ourselves. We were not created to serve ourselves. As sinful humans we are inherently selfish, and when we seek to only serve ourselves we feed our own selfishness which leads to continual discontent.
My friends, I encourage you to ask God how He may use your hands to serve! In a world that demands, “Do what YOU want; Do what makes YOU happy; Don’t think about others, focus on YOU! YOU come first” step out of your own head and into the lives of those around you. Actions truly do speak louder than words, so I urge you to prove to those around you how much you love them by how you care for them. How can you be Jesus’ hands and feet to those around you today?
**DISCLAIMER: I know that there are moments when we need to take care of ourselves. But pleasing ourselves should not be our sole purpose and motivator. God’s most important commandments (according to Jesus) are to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40). Living to please ourselves is a great way to become discontent.