God has a place for you in his global mission. It’s waiting for you, not because God needs you, but because he wants to give you the privilege of joining in the work he’s doing. As you consider what place you might have in God’s story, ask yourself three questions: What do you have in your hand? What do you have in your house? What do you have in your heart?
Lay it Down
In the third chapter of Exodus, God speaks to Moses out of a burning bush and tells him to go get his people out of Egypt. Moses hems and haws for a while then asks “What if they don’t listen to me?” God answers by asking “What is that in your hand?” and tells Moses to throw his staff down. God turns the staff into a snake and, when he tells Moses to pick it up again, turns back into a staff.
Out of all the signs God could have given Moses, he chose to use his staff, a symbol of Moses’ professional security and his identity as a shepherd. Moses needed to lay this down, not to get rid of it forever, but so God could redeem it to be used for his purposes. What do we need to lay down before God so he can transform it and redeem it for his purposes?
Use What You Have
In the fourth chapter of Second Kings, a woman is about to lose her sons to indentured slavery because of her dead husband’s debt. To help, Elisha begins by asking “What do you have in your house?” She’s so poor, she at first says she has nothing then remembers she has a little oil. Like Jesus and the loaves and fishes (Mark 6), Elisha multiplies her small amount of oil until she has enough to sell and pay off the debt. Not only that, but she and her sons are able to live on the remaining revenue.
What do you have in your house? No matter how materially or educationally or spiritually poor we might feel we each have something in our house of resources that God can use. Whatever it is that we have, that’s what God wants to use. We need to see what we have, involve our communities, and act in faith that God will multiply our limited resources for his purposes.
Let Yourself Be Shaped
The third question gets down to the heart of the matter. In the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, a rich, young ruler comes to Jesus and asks what he needs to do to get eternal life. Jesus instructs him that he should keep all the commandments that have to do with how we are to live in relation to others. When the young man says he’s kept all those commandments, Jesus tells him to sell everything he has, give to the poor and follow him. The man then goes away sad because he was quite wealthy.
While Jesus didn’t use these words, the underlying question in this interchange is “What do you have in your heart?” Would the rich, young ruler be willing to make following God the orientation of his heart, or would he prefer to focus on his wealth? Are we ready to have our hearts shaped so that Jesus and his purposes become our focus and top priority? Or, will we let something else rule our hearts?
No matter what God calls us to, no matter what we need to allow God to transform, no matter how God will use our resources, we must let God rule our hearts. Our heart for his harvest flows from our heart for him.