So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. — John 5:19 (GNT)
For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. — John 12:49 (NKJV)
GOD CALLS US to work with Him in the world.
Each of us who has received God’s Holy Spirit in his heart wants to serve the Lord, but where should we serve … and how?
So, the question before you and me is this: Are we serving God where He wants us to be or are we trying to serving Him where we think we should be?
Author and pastor Henry Blackaby frames it this way:
“We don’t choose what we will do for God; He invites us to join Him where He wants to involve us.” (Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God (Kindle, Loc. 1204)
That does not mean that it’s one or the other; the two could be the same. The question is whether the choice we make is driven by our preference or by His design.
I WAS CONFRONTED with this choice several years ago after a hurricane tore through our area of coastal South Carolina.
Immediately, we became ground zero for an army of volunteers from Samaritans’ Purse, and many from our church community joined in.
The work involved areas where my gifts — spiritual and physical — are sorely lacking. We were to climb ladders, nail tarps to battered roofs, cut logs, and transport debris to the curb. In short, it was a time of safety glasses and reinforced gloves and boots.
While I felt a tug to participate in the clean-up operation, I also felt the effort tearing me away from what I thought was my calling: preparing lessons for our weekly church home group, writing meditations and essays for a Christian blog, and meeting the constant demands of shepherding a Christian men’s group that was growing beyond our immediate neighborhood.
I spent time in prayer — maybe too much time — trying to figure out what God wanted me to do. In the end, I spent one Friday in clean-up.
It was the most rewarding experience of that time period for me!
I loved getting involved, being challenged to climb ladders to reach roofs higher than I wanted to walk on, and fellowshipping with God’s saints from our state and those from several states away.
In short, I’m glad I went. I’m also glad I spent only one day.
USING SPIRITUAL GIFTS
WE READ IN THE BIBLE (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12) that God has distributed *spiritual gifts* to each of us to be used to benefit the body of Christ, both our local church and the worldwide church.
We know that from all we’ve read and heard, but are we rightly positioned within His Kingdom to serve Him where we are?
Are we doing the work He has planned for our lives or are we serving Him in the way and manner that feels most comfortable to us?
Have we rightly heard His call as to where we should serve?
OUR LORD ALWAYS SAID He was listening to His Father in Heaven, and He would pattern His earthly ministry on what He saw His Father doing.
In other words, where was God working in the lives and souls of people around Him? That’s where Jesus wanted to go. Those were the people Jesus wanted to touch.
Blackaby says this:
“God is orchestrating history. He is present and in the middle of all history. God is the One who is at work redeeming a lost world. His desire is to involve His people and His servants.” (Kindle, Loc. 1107)
He adds this:
“Jesus always looked for the activity of the Father and joined Him.” (Kindle, Loc. 1149)
COME JOIN GOD
WHAT GOD IS SAYING to each of us is that He is working in the world right now, all around us, but we can miss the signals.
Blackaby says the Holy Spirit will show us where God is at work. Once we know where He is working, we can adjust our lives and join Him in His work. (Kindle, Loc. 1168)
That is not an easy concept for me to put into practice.
While I understand the point and can discuss it, I find it more difficult to apply it. As my example above shows, to volunteer in Godly work with Samaritans’ Purse, I had to give up time and energy that could have been spent in other Godly work to which I felt a greater calling, yet, at the same time, I felt rewarded with the volunteer labor.
In short, was I serving God where He wants me or where I find the most comfort? Where, at that moment, did He want me? Where, in this moment, does He want me?
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN for me or for you?
FOR ME, I need to be more mindful of what is actually going on around me, how other people may be hurting, who needs my attention or help, or who just needs a listening ear.
FOR YOU, what does it mean?
Many of you no doubt are engaged in a variety of charitable endeavors, volunteer service, and helping out with family members in need of physical or spiritual care, or finding ways to serve at church or in nursing homes or food banks.
Some of you are active in mission trips, whether near your home community, in parts of the U.S. devastated by recent storms, or even overseas. Others are teaching the Word to those who hunger for God’s truth, while still others are engaged in evangelism activities, reaching out to those who are lost.
IN THE END, we should be attentive to God’s voice showing us where He is working around us so that we can join Him in that effort.
We find that answer through prayer and listening to Him as He speaks to us.
O LORD, OUR LORD, we thank You for giving each of us a spiritual gift, something special for us that we can give to the family of believers to benefit one another. Help us, O Lord, to identify those gifts and to use them charitably, not comparing one gift with another or encouraging envy but graciously and enthusiastically contributing where You place us and doing what Your plan calls for. In Jesus name we lift this prayer. AMEN