How is it that you think you want something, and then when you're about to get it, you realize you don't want it at all? That when you're in a certain season of life you don't particularly enjoy and it looks like it may be fading, you want to cling to it for dear life? Realizing that you really don't want anything other than what you have is an odd experience, and it comes with mixed emotions.
For a long time, I've been pondering God's will for my life. For a long time, I have felt like I am doing nothing for God. While others are going out and being missionaries and preaching the Gospel in unreached nations, I'm living a simple, ordinary life, not having a significant impact on the world. Aren't we as Christians supposed to be active in soul-winning and outreach? Isn't it what God has called us to? But at the same time, I'm starting to think (and this may be very bold and even "un-Christian" of me to say) that many of us are being made to feel guilty if we aren't active in missions and soul-winning. I think many of us are being made to feel less godly or that we are not fulfilling God's call on us as Christians if we aren't on the streets preaching to the lost. I'm starting to think that the Bible paints a very different picture.
I'll be honest. I tend to be shy and reserved. I hate approaching new people. I even have a hard time with my job, to have to interact with people everyday. I don't walk up to people and speak to them about the condition of their souls. I'd have to say that I'm actually afraid to do that. And I'm starting to think that in a way, that's okay.
Now some may be quick to say we have to get over our fear of man, be empowered by the Spirit of God and openly share the Gospel with people all the time. However, doesn't the Bible make it clear that, although we are called to preach the Gospel to all nations, each one of us has different gifts. Prophets and apostles are no doubt much better at these things, and Paul tells us to desire these gifts. But there are other gifts that, although they may not be recognized as much as the others, that are no less important than the first. Where Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 12, he makes it clear that although people all have different gifts, they all come by the same Spirit. He also explains that we are all members of the same body and that each part, no matter how small is important, that even the weakest or less honourable members are necessary. I think at times we fail to see the "other" people in the Bible. You know, the farmers and homemakers. Ordinary Christians.
God has been showing me this past week again that He has given me a work to do right where I am. At times, it's not what I want to do but I've been learning that this life isn't about myself. So, I have determined to take it up cheerfully and make the most of it. And you know what I've discovered? It irritates people. People do not like seeing you have a good attitude about something that they do not want to do, and make it clear how they feel about it. God has given me a work in which I can be a blessing, a place where I have the ability to serve in a way that not many people are able or willing to do. And I've realized that I am actually doing hard things. I may not be jumping out of my comfort zone and accomplishing great things that many around the world will hear about. I'm doing the small things, that few people will recognize and appreciate and in so doing, I'm not gaining an earthly reward but a heavenly one of much greater value.
I was encouraged and blessed by a conversation I had with a young man a few weeks ago. When I explained how I felt like I wasn't doing anything of value, he assured me that I am right where God wants me. I may not have a great vision but that simply means that God hasn't given me it yet and that's okay. God has great plans for my life, and when he reveals those to me, I will be able to step forward in confidence knowing that I am in His will. In the meantime, I am called to prepare. It's like being stranded at sea and praying for wind so I can get where I want to go. I can pray for wind, and God may send it, but if my sails are down, I'm not going anywhere. The illustration reminded me of a scene in Facing the Giants where Mr. Bridges speaks to Grant about two farmers praying for rain. Both of them prayed, but only one went out to prepare his field to receive it, thus demonstrating faith. God will send the rain when He's ready; we have to prepare our fields to receive it.
For a moment I wondered how I can prepare for something if I don't know what it is? I don't know. What I do know is that I am right where God wants me today and I can keep on doing what I'm doing for His glory until He shows me otherwise.
Not all of us are called to be Hudson Taylors or Amy Carmichaels and that's okay. God doesn't intend for us to be. There are thousands of godly men and women who have followed God's call on their lives. The only problem is we have never heard of them. That's because they weren't out on the front lines where everyone could see them. They may not even have won many souls for the Lord. They may have just been ordinary Christians living ordinary lives, but they did what they could to serve, bless, and show God's love to the people around them and in so doing, they were perfectly fulfilling God's will for their lives.
Like me, you may feel you have nothing to give, but that's not true. You have everything to give. You don't have to go searching for anything else to do or keep wondering what's next. You can fulfill God's calling for your life right where you are. And even if it seems small, you can make an impact.