Psalm 127:1 (NIV) Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
John 15:5 (NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
WE WERE NEVER CALLED to do life alone.
Our Creator made us to have connection with Him, to join Him in community and fellowship. He created us for His glory.
Sometimes individuals, or even churches, are so busy carrying out plans they are convinced will help fulfill God’s purposes they don’t bother to find out what He actually wants.
They skip the most important step!
LISTENING FOR GOD’S VOICE
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT to listen for God’s voice?
Here are two examples:
- LET’S ASSUME the patriarch Abraham was so disgusted with the sin he saw in nearby Sodom and Gomorrah that he decided, without consulting God, to begin an intense ministry to the cities … on the very day that God had decided to rain burning suffer on them! Wonderful idea, we might say, but the timing was wrong.
- OR THIS: A CHURCH believes God is calling them to relocate their presence from a neighborhood location to a busy thoroughfare. To build the much larger building would require assuming major debt. The congregation votes to proceed, assuming that God will provide for His servants … but this wasn’t God’s will for that church at that time. Again, a wonderful idea, but wrong timing.
ANSWERING GOD’S CALL
HOW IS GOD CALLING YOU in ministry? Are you actively listening for His voice, or are you busy telling Him each day all of your wonderful plans for the Kingdom? Are you asking Him to bless your ideas, or are you asking Him for His plans for you?
Nobody can fault your desire to be useful, but Scripture is full of warnings and advice that encourages the faithful to “wait on the Lord” and to “obey when He calls.” He’s the engine; we’re not.
BEING SHAPED FOR GOD’S PLAN
WHILE WE’RE WAITING on the Lord, we are to be busy praying for His instructions and for preparation so that, when He does call on us, we’ll be ready to go.
He wants to shape us into the men and women He has purposed for the tasks ahead.
The pastor and author Henry Blackaby, in his book Experiencing God, said it this way: “He will always work in you before He works through you.” (KINDLE, Loc. 758)
GOD WORKS THROUGH ORDINARY PEOPLE
THE PEOPLE WE READ ABOUT in the Bible were ordinary men and women, much like us. What turned them into giants of accomplishment was not their own intent or design, but God working through them.
David was just a shepherd long before he became a warrior and king; Mary was a simple teenage girl chosen to bear the Christ child; Gideon led 300 men against 135,000 enemy troops but only after putting God’s angel to the test three times.
And what about Moses, that man of God? He was a shepherd in the wilderness, who had run off from his home in Egypt after killing a man and then begged God to pick someone else to rescue his people from captivity.
Only when David, Mary, Gideon, Moses, and many others agreed to obey God’s command were they able to accomplish God-sized tasks!
WHAT IS GOD PREPARING US FOR,
RIGHT NOW, TO DO IN OBEDIENCE TO HIM?
OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we pray that You can use us in Your Kingdom work, that our hearts will be softened to see the landscape around us, the needs to be addressed, the people who need help. Forgive us, we pray, for our self-absorption, our inward-focused lives, when You have called us to come out of the ordinary to live lives accomplishing great things with Your power. In Jesus’ mighty and glorious name we pray. AMEN