If you ever participated in a group project in school or work, then you’ve probably been asked the question, “What can you bring to the table?” When I was in school, I was involved in many group presentations that required each member of the group to contribute to the task. The natural way to begin a group project is to determine each member’s strengths and to decide how those skills can help move the project along to completion. On presentation day, every member was expected to have their portion of the project finished. If you didn’t complete your part, you experienced shame because you failed to come through. You let down the group.
Some of us are living our Christian lives with the same mindset. Most of us will at one point or another view our walk with God as a group project. Whether we’ve acknowledged it or not, we have one question ever in the back of our minds: What can you bring to the table? And our actions demonstrate this because we’re living to prove something to ourselves and to God. We look at what God has done for us as a contribution to the end goal and we expect that through our talents or skills or effort we can add something to it. But the truth is that in sending Jesus to die for us, God did a finished work. And no matter how hard we try, and no matter how much effort we put forth, there is nothing that we can bring to the table.
Jesus Did A Finished Work
As He prays to the Father, Jesus clearly reveals His finished work to us in John 17:1b-4.
“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
Jesus accomplished the work that He was given to do; He made the complete and perfect righteousness of God available to all who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior. In comparison to this, our acts are worthless. Jesus placed salvation, eternal life, freedom from sin, and a relationship with the loving Creator of the universe on the table. What then can we bring?
Isaiah 64:6 says, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
The Only Qualifier
When we stand before God in heaven, there is one qualifier that will give us access to His presence: that we know the Son who gave His everything on our behalf. That is why our hope rests in faith in Jesus. God has given Him authority over all flesh, and God has given Him the right to grant eternal life. To do this, Jesus paid for our sins with His own blood. When we stand before the judgement seat of God, there will be no work of our own that we can use to defend ourselves. Our only defense and justification is Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Christ At Work In You
But you might be asking, then what is the point of working for the Lord? God doesn’t need our works, but He can and will still use them. When Jesus was on earth, He fed a multitude of five thousand men and their families. Jesus is the Son of God, so He could have just fed the multitude out of thin air. Instead, He utilized the five loaves and two fish that someone had brought, and through this act, the glory and power of God was displayed. Even with the five loaves and two fish, it was not the owner of the food who did the work. Jesus, working with what they had, performed a miracle.
Philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” and Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Once you believe and begin to allow Jesus to rule over your life, He is able to start a new work inside of you. You are a new creation in Christ, and He can use what little you have for the glory of God. Your talents, skills, and desires are not useless and they will not go to waste in the hands of the Lord. But we first need to accept that it is Him who is at work in us, and we need to remember that there is no work that we can do that adds to or takes away from the finished work of Christ. What can you really bring to the table? Nothing that needs to be brought. It was a solo project. And Jesus has already said, “It is finished.”