How many times have you said, even cried out to God, ‘What do You want me to do? If you just show me, I’ll do it.
I lost count of the number of times I spoke to God in this way when I was a new Christian but despite my pleading He did not give me a specific task or job to do. In hindsight it’s quite funny because what makes me think that God needs my help anyway?
When we become Christians and meet with the risen Lord Jesus Christ we often want to do things for Him. OK, everyone is different, but quite often, new Christians will want or feel called, to give up their jobs and work full time for God. There is nothing wrong with having zeal for God’s work but we first of all have to grow in our discipleship of Jesus and get our Christian roots firmly embedded in the rock (Mathew 7:24-25).
Me and Pat became Christians together in 1999 and it quickly became our life purpose to worship God and be disciples of Jesus. We were led to a Christian fellowship approximately 16 miles from our home and after a while we felt the Lord telling us to sell our house in Liverpool and move to Haydock where our church was situated. We did just that and moved into our new home in March 2000.
As we were growing in our Christian walk we had our times of trial and tribulation along with times of blessing. Difficult times should not come as a surprise to Christians as Jesus told us they would come,
‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33
and there are many other references in the Bible tell us that hardship is the training ground for Christian maturity (e.g. Hebrews 12:1-11, Zechariah 13:9)
We know that God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and we know that He is in control but we began pushing Him into revealing His plans to us NOW – not according to His good and perfect timing.
Anyway, we so much wanted to do things for God that we lost our peace and became frustrated with our church leaders and fellow Christians, who didn’t seem to have the same burden for our community as us. This judgemental attitude and bitterness towards others can be a blockage in our relationship with the Lord.
I struggled so much with this for quite a while until I was eventually led to John 6:28-29, which tells of the crowds of people questioning Jesus about doing the works of God.
‘Then they said unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God. Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.’
His answer is so simple – believe in Him!
These words from Jesus hit me between the eyes and reminded me that we are ‘human beings’ not ‘human doings’. It’s not what we do, it’s who we are and what we believe in our hearts that is important to God.
‘For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.’ Hosea 6:6
Jesus himself quoted this scripture to the Pharisees when they asked why He ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mathew 9:10-13).
Believing in Jesus, however, involves much more than belief – why, even the demons believe in Him (James 2:19). No, it means actively trusting Jesus in all areas of our lives.
Anyway, we repented of our bitterness and our judgemental attitudes towards others and we received our Father’s forgiveness. We realised that we have to stop striving and simply trust in God and His perfect timing. If we are living as disciples of Jesus there are many ‘things’ to be doing.
In Mathew 25:34-40 Jesus tells the parable about the sheep and the goats and describes the mercy we can all do every day. By doing these things for others Jesus said that we do them for Him.
‘For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me……. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.’ . Mathew 25:35-40
This parable tells us that we should love every person and serve anyone we can. You see, as disciples, Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for others’ needs and this theme also runs throughout the Old Testament.
In this next passage the Lord is asking what is true fasting?
‘Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, thou shalt cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.’.Isaiah 58:7
If we can be trusted with the ‘small’ things God promises to trust us with more (Mathew 25:21) but we must not be anxious and we must wait on God’s perfect timing.
The Lord taught me a vital lesson during this period – He doesn’t need me to work for Him. He wants me to be faithful in the ‘small’ things, to be content and have a serving heart.
Above all we are all called to love each other and show the love of Jesus to others. Amen.
As the penny finally dropped in all this the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 37. This is a Psalm I’ve read many times before but it was only now that verses 3-8 jumped out of the page at me.
‘Trust in the Lord and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily shall thou be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord;
and he will give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
and thy judgement as the noonday sun.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:
fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way,
because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:
fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.’
Isn’t God great!
The Bible is truly a love letter from Him to us and the truths in it will set us free (James 1:25)– if only we can see them and put them into practice.