As Christians, we talk a lot about how God can use you, use me, or use us. We pray sincerely to God, “Use me! Use me to bring about your will!”
I respect the spirit in which those prayers are offered and agree with the implication that we are to put actions to our faith, but I have come to look at it a little differently. Stick with me past the next header and I promise I’ll explain.
God Has No Interest in Using You!
I don’t think He has any desire to use any of His children. He loves us far too much for that. Consider times in your life when you have felt used. What kind of memories does that evoke?
For me, the idea of being used means someone took advantage of my skills, knowledge, or property for personal gain. I don’t like to feel used. I don’t feel valued when I feel used. I certainly do not feel loved when I feel used.
God Doesn’t Need You, Either!
But just as much as don’t like to feel used, I sure do love to feel needed! It makes me feel proud and important. It makes me feel the opposite of humble.
When I was a little girl, I absolutely LOVED to help my mom in the kitchen making dinner, baking cookies, or rolling out pie crust. I remember once when we were making chocolate cake from scratch, mom delegated the preparation of the frosting to me. As I combined the ingredients, I informed her I didn’t have enough cocoa powder.
“But that was a full container!” she replied, somewhat confused.
“Well, I couldn’t get 2 full cups out of it,” I explained.
And she replied, patiently and clearly amused, “Stacy, the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of cocoa.”
Oops. Then, without making me feel bad or getting angry, she helped me remove as much of the excess as possible and finish the cake. (which, by the way, still had the chocolatiest chocolate icing to ever ice a chocolate cake.)
Did she need me to make the icing? Was I helping her with the cake?
No and no way! In fact, I was probably the opposite of help and she could have done a better job without me getting in her way and messing things up. But she invited me to bake with her, learn from her, and work with her toward her mission. I grew closer to my mom while working with her in the kitchen. I learned culinary skills and patience as she taught me. Our relationship is stronger and my love for her is deeper today because she included me.
Mom didn’t use me and she certainly didn’t need me. She welcomed me to work with her.
God Invites Us to Be a Part of His Mission
Consider two incredible stories of miraculous healing from Acts 9:32-42.
Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord.
There was a believer in Joppa named Dorcas. She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. One day she became sick and died. After they had washed her body, they laid her in a room on the second floor. The city of Lydda was near Joppa. The followers heard that Peter was at Lydda and sent two men to ask him to come at once. Peter went back with them. When he came, they took him to the room. All the women whose husbands had died were standing around crying. They were showing the clothes Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter made them all leave the room. Then he got down on his knees and prayed. He turned to her body and said, “(Dorcas,) get up!” She opened her eyes and looked at Peter and sat up. He took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then he called in the faithful followers and the women whose husbands had died. He gave her to them, a living person.
News of this went through all Joppa. Many people put their trust in the Lord.
Do you think Peter felt used? I think Peter felt excited and blessed to be included by God and to be a witness to such incredible miracles!
Do you think God needed Peter in order to bring about these healings? Of course not! God could have healed Aeneas and raised Dorcas from the dead by any means He chose. But He blessed Peter by allowing him to be a part of the mission.
God Himself declares in Isaiah 46:10, “Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”
The will of God will not be thwarted, whether or not we choose to answer His invitation to be involved in it.
What Happens if We DO Accept?
If we, like Peter, accept God’s gracious invitation to be a part of His mission to reconcile Himself to a lost world, the payoff is immeasurable!
When We Join God’s Mission, Our Faith is Increased
Whenever I cooperate with God on His mission, I get to witness His power and might. I am blessed by the magnitude of His love for His children and reminded that He loves me just the same!
My faith is strengthened every time I witness the work of His hands. When Aeneas got up and walked and when Dorcas came back to life, those who witnessed put their trust in the Lord. Peter had already placed his trust in the Lord, but I’m sure his faith was stronger for his involvement in these miracles.
When We Join God’s Mission, Our Relationship with Him is Strengthened
Just as the hours spent with my mom in the kitchen endeared her to me in a powerful way, every time I work with God, I grow to love Him more. Nothing binds like a common mission and I want to be bound to God by joining Him in His mission. I want His mission to be my mission!
When We Join God’s Mission, We Encourage Others to Accept the Invitation
I used to witness miraculous events in other people's lives with joy and a little jealousy. I wanted to experience that kind of love and power and now that I have joined God's mission, I experience it on a regular basis. And when He shows off, I want to tell everyone about it and encourage them to get involved as well -- to be a participant in God's mission.
When We Join God’s Mission, He is Glorified
If God truly needed us, then we might be justified in accepting credit or praise when we serve others. But when we admit that we are essentially useless, we humbly seek only to bring glory to God our Father. In James 1:17, we are reminded, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father.”
When we are so blessed to witness God’s love and power on display, we must be quick to give Him the glory and divert attention from ourselves. We must not allow false pride or self-righteousness to take root in our lives.
When We Join God’s Mission, People Accept Christ
Once again, recalling the stories of Aeneas and Dorcas, both situations had the same result.
Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:35)
News of this (Dorcas being brought back to life) went through all Joppa. Many people put their trust in the Lord. (Acts 9:42)
When others are witness to God’s love and power, the evidence of the Gospel is overwhelmingly persuasive. Souls are saved and we get to be a part of that. How gracious and loving is our God that He would include us in His Mission of Reconciliation!
Will You Join God’s Mission?
Just as God allows us to make our own decision on whether or not we accept Christ and the gift of salvation by grace, He politely extends an invitation to join Him in His mission. Once we have been reconciled to God, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and helps us to be more like Christ. And if we are open and allowable to that process, then why would we not want to join that mission?
- God doesn’t need our time, talents, or money, but He deeply desires our investment in His mission.
- God doesn’t need our help, but lovingly encourages our cooperation with Him.
- God loves us too much to use us. Instead, He patiently allows us to work alongside him on His mission.
What an amazing privilege we have to be included in God’s mission. Don’t miss out!