For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD (Isaiah 55:8 ESV).
It feels good when we know we are using the gifts God has given. There is a sense of completion in our work. But what about the times we see our service as something here, something there, but no true focus?
I have a friend who has the very strong gift of service. She is the first to respond to any need presented. She does menial things most others would not do. The majority is time-consuming and usually not the least bit convenient. But if she didn’t do them, there would be no one to clear a house of hoarder-like clutter, no one to sit with anxious patients through hours of cancer treatment, no one to carry numerous individuals to doctors’ appointments and pick up groceries and medicine for them. My friend doesn’t feel like what she does counts for anything. She worries that she isn’t fulfilling God’s purpose for her life. I see her as a chief example of Matthew 25:37-40; that one Jesus says is being His hands and feet.
After retirement, I had some days of wondering what I was to do. I felt without direction and I prayed about what God wanted from me, how He might use me. In time, this is what I heard: Do for every person in your life what you can and with joy. Live in each day’s opportunities. Stop projecting out to new things and stop looking back at what you’ve done in the past. BE. DO. LOVE. Serve in this way.
That wasn’t the answer I had hoped to get. I had wanted some fresh and exciting project. Yet I knew I had heard from God so I set out to do what I could for family, friends, and others I felt God had placed in my pathway. I did eventually receive a new work that I would have never seen on my own; that of tutoring second grade children.
Having never considered myself very good with children, this would never have made it to my personal list of possibilities, yet I can tell you that this is one of the three things I’ve done in life that I’ve enjoyed most. It is so important for us to release all struggling to God so that His perfect plans can appear.
God knows what He has put in each of us to be used and if we submit and wait on Him—and follow His nudging—that thing will become clear. And we need always to remember it isn’t about what we do, but how we do it. Jonah knew exactly what he was to do, but he didn’t want to do it. And when he did do it, it was begrudgingly and with anger. God saved many people through Jonah, yet he was blind to the eternal value. He was seeing the appointment with his eyes and not God’s. Let us not be guilty of that.
Give your questions of purpose completely over to God, then wait and watch. Don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar if your heart says it is of God. The One who created us knows exactly where we are best suited to serve. He has plans for us and those plans will be better than anything we could imagine on our own.
God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them (Hebrew 6:10 NIV).