On February 26, 1829, a Jewish boy named Loeb Strauss was born in a cottage in the Bavarian village of Buttenheim. As a young man, Loeb changed his name to Levi and wound up in California, where he opened a textile company. One day, a gold miner walked into Levi’s shop. “Look at these,” said the miner, pointing to his pants. “I bought them six months ago, and now they are full of holes!” When Levi asked why, the miner explained, “We work on our knees most of the time.”
“What you need is some really strong material,” replied Levi. A tailor was called—and the rest is history. Soon miners across the West were wearing Levi Strauss’s jeans.
It seems to me that we Christians should have the same problem that plagued that miner—worn-out pants—for we ought to do most of our work on our knees.
Worn Knees Mean Reverence
We don’t have to kneel to pray, of course. The Bible describes many postures in prayer. Jesus prayed while standing with His eyes lifted to heaven. In Gethsemane, He fell prostrate on His face. In 1 Chronicles 17:16, David sat before the Lord in prayer. Sometimes Bible heroes prayed while lying on their beds or walking along the road as the disciples did with Jesus.
As we turn ourselves, our plans, and our problems over to Him, He intervenes. When we bow before Him, we’re acknowledging Him as our “Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”
Worn Knees Mean Obedience
Worn knees also imply obedience. One of the strangest incidents in the life of King David involved moving the ark of the covenant from the village of Kirjath Jearim to its new home in Jerusalem. According to 1 Chronicles 13, David anticipated the day with excitement, for “the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.” Placing the ark in a new cart, they started off as David and all Israel played music before God.
The music stopped abruptly, however, when the oxen stumbled, the cart tottered, and a man named Uzza reached out his hand to steady the ark. God instantly struck him dead, “and he died there before God.”
It wasn’t until afterward that David realized what had gone wrong. He had failed to arrange for the ark to be transported as prescribed by the Mosaic Law. Second, he had failed to pray and to inquire of the Lord about how to go about it. “We did not consult Him,” David confessed in 1 Chronicles 15:13.
Sometimes we make the same mistake. We should be on our knees before accepting a job offer, making a purchase, choosing a new church, or making any decision of consequence. People are quietly watching, and they know when we’re living in prayerful obedience or when, on the other hand, we act without consulting Him.
Worn Knees Mean Dependence
It’s also obvious to others when our knees draw down blessings from above. In the January/February 2003 issue of Pray! Magazine, Elmer Towns said that he and his wife made it through college by faith, praying together and trusting God to meet their needs.
“One evening,” he wrote, “the only thing in the kitchen cabinet was a can of tuna, so my wife served a tuna casserole. As we clasped hands to thank God for the food, I prayed, ‘God, you know we are broke. You know it’s two days until payday. You know we are willing to fast until we get money, but we ask you to please take care of our needs.’”
Just as they finished, the laundry man came to the door. He quickly explained that he hadn’t come to pick up but to deliver. “A few months ago,” he said, “your landlord asked me to pass along twenty dollars to you to pay for having thawed the pipes for him. I had forgotten about it until today.”
If you want to pull down blessings from above and impact the world around you, you’ve got to be surrendered to God’s will, taking life on your knees, bowed in humble reverence, obedience, and dependence on Him.
Do your knees give off signs of life? Like a California miner, let’s each declare: “I do most of my work on my knees.”
A man named Gary Kildall wrote the first complete software operating system for a personal-style computer. In the 1980s, IBM executives flew to the West Coast with every intention of inking a deal with Kildall to license his operating system for installation in every personal computer IBM would sell. But Silicon Valley legend has it that Kildall never showed up for the meeting, opting to go flying in his newly acquired airplane instead.
Put off by Kildall’s lack of interest, IBM began looking around for another software package and found a small company called Microsoft, founded by a Harvard dropout named Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen. The rest is business and financial history. Gary Kildall passed up a potential opportunity to be where Microsoft is today.A Simple Identity
Look down at your shirt for a moment—is there a little emblem on the pocket? Or a certain swoosh on your tennis shoes? If you’re drinking coffee while reading this article, is there a green circle with a woman on the cup?
Living an Authentic Life
Christians have always been world changers, and our influence has shaped society for two thousand years. Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), for example, was the son of a Lutheran pastor who often helped his dad in the family garden. As a young man, his Christian beliefs convinced him that children need to learn about God and His world at an early age. Friedrich imagined a school for young children that would allow their minds to be cultivated like a horticulturist tending a garden. He called his idea a Child’s Garden. Because of him, children have been going to Kindergarten for the last 150 years.
Looking back on The Jesus You May Not Know, are you wondering what to do with all that you learned? Today, Dr. David Jeremiah shares practical tools for building a deeper intimacy with Christ than you’ve known before.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah