John 5:17 – Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." (NIV)
In the churches that I have attended, I've always enjoyed serving in some capacity. I once attended a church where all the jobs seemed to have been taken. Whilst praying to be used somewhere, I realized that several times, I'd wondered why the sanctuary seemed to be rather bleak. There were no flowers in sight. I love flowers, and I could easily pick some from my garden, so I enquired whether I could bring some the following week. The person I asked, stared at me, then gazed around the sanctuary. "I never noticed that!" she exclaimed. From then on, that was my job.
Other church members were enthusiastic, saying how much we'd needed flowers to brighten the place up. After a few weeks I had become the "Decorating Committee" — a committee of one! I was even given a budget. That led to other duties. It was a simple enough task, but often, we're given a small responsibility first, to see if we're faithful. Isn't that how we teach our children to begin taking on chores?
Sometimes, we pray that God might use us, and then, we wait to be asked. But God doesn't ask — He tells us what to do, and He expects us to obey! If we say that we don't have time, or we can't do that, or we'd rather not, that is disobedience. But often, we just don't see His invitation. We ask, but we don't really expect Him to answer, or we don't see His answer because we're not looking for it. We don't make the connection between our prayer and His answer.
Of course, God wants to use us. That's what we're here for, to be His hands and feet. So we should expect Him to give us a task. We should watch for His answer. Pay attention to what He is doing around us. That's His invitation! Join in.
Sometimes, we hesitate. We think, I don't know if God wants me to do this. I'd better pray on it. By the time we pray, the opportunity is gone. When we see an opportunity to serve, that is God revealing Himself to us. When we see God at work, we need to be ready to respond.
How committed are you? Could it be that you're really asking God to bless you, not to actually work through you? If we want God to use us, we can expect Him to do exactly that. Let's stay alert to opportunities. There are no coincidences, only "God-instances". And let's not be picky! You never know how one thing will lead to another.
Pray with me: Father, open my spiritual eyes and show me what You're doing, where You're working. Give me a heart sensitive to Your prompting, and use me to accomplish Your purposes. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Give Me That Old Time Religion" (Lyrics)