By Daniel Yoder
Have you ever asked yourself the question since becoming a Christian and going to work in His Kingdom: “Lord what am I doing here? What’s the use? Did I make the right decision in becoming a Pastor, an Evangelist, a Teacher or even a Missionary?”
After all everybody we minister to seems to be unresponsive. They are so taken up with their own lives, and become self-centered. Does it seem to you at times that you’re on a mission that is hopeless?
Do you question “God what are you doing?” Why have you sent me to try and minister to these people? After all God I don’t seem to be able to get through to them. I’m not accomplishing anything. I’m useless; my little bit seems to just be a drop in a bucket. It’s hardly worth my time!
Are you starting to have doubts about the worth of your work? Or even about your own worth? Do you feel doubts about your own significance? Do you not feel like a small child who can hardly say or do anything? Do you have doubts about your own competence in doing the work that God expects you to do?
Again you ask, “God what are you doing? WHY??? How can it all make sense? God what is your purpose in my life? God what is your purpose in my life when I feel so absolutely weak and insignificant all the time? What is Your purpose for sending me out as a Pastor, an Evangelist, as a Teacher or a Missionary? Why have you placed me here? How does all this fit together with your plan in my life?”
This is the way I’m feeling as I write this Tidbit. It’s been a long hard two weeks. Let me try and explain what has happened in these last two weeks. As most of you know I’m a drag racer I have a car I race each Saturday trying to share the Gospel. There is one particular racer who does not like me; we got called out to race each other in a grudge match. I got my car ready, or I thought it was ready. I went to test and tune it for the race. I wasn’t satisfied with it so I tried a few other tricks to make it run faster. I had several racers from our track; go with me to the grudge race. I lost by .1090 sec. It was a very close race. Since then I’ve lost the friendship of those that I have been working with for 5 years. I’ve been asking God why I lost, why the friends I thought I had turned against me. WHY???
That wasn’t the end of it. I took the car down to a race car builder in Little Rock; I wanted to find out why some of my components didn’t work. As I backed the car out of the trailer the carburetor linkage stuck on the car which made it speed up when I was trying to slow it down. I backed into a lot of equipment and another man’s race car before I could get mine shut down. The damage I did was costly to say the least. No one was hurt, only my pride and my spirit.
Again, WHY GOD? Why did this happen? That’s where this lesson starts.
Back to the Basics
I had to get back to the basics of why I’m here; I had to regain my perspective. To once again try and understand why I’m here. And to understand what God’s purpose is for my life, and the lives around me. The bottom line, the truth of the matter is, God has a MISSION. He is a MISSIONARY GOD! He is out to have a family for Himself from all the people of the world. Your past doesn’t matter. He is going to accomplish rising up a FAMILY just for HIM. And He will accomplish IT! And nothing or no one is going to stop Him. It is going to be done by His ZEAL.
You and I are supposed to be part of His vital plan, a vital part, of accomplishing His mission.
While God sees the world as full of rebels, He has another and very different perspective: He is accomplishing a task. He is at work and He will not nor cannot fail at what He is doing.o:p>
We need to desperately find a way to see life through God’s eyes. To see that we live among rebels, among spiritual apathy, among a majority who do not know the truth, and we need to see through the eyes of faith as to what God will accomplish. Then we need to see our part in God’s overall plan. This is the only way we will be able to have value or worth in what we are doing, to have a genuine sense of significance in the seemingly little that we do, and to believe that through us something of eternal value will take place. This will then keep us going strong even when we are tempted to give up and quit, or feel discouraged with ourselves and everyone around us.
All of this is happening because of who God is. Without a shadow of doubt God’s very nature is LOVE. And true love cannot remain passive or silent. We see the world in a huge mess, with people doing their own thing, without the fear of God, going their own way, totally without the true knowledge of what life is all about, or about where they are headed in their indifference and rebellion. These are the very same people who will love you and be your friend one day, and turn against you the next. They will look only at your mistakes, not at what you can and have done. They look at your mistakes so that they can hide and not consider their own.
But God knows that among all these rebellious people, He is calling out a people upon whom He can lavish His LOVE.
It is so important that we base all that we are doing here upon this one foundation: We are here to do God’s mission, not our mission, BUT GOD’S MISSION. We are, so that through us, He might be able to show His love to a great multitude of people, whether it be local at a ball park, in a store, in church, even at a drag strip, you can even be in the military deployed somewhere. It can be where ever you are at work and even what you like to do for a pass time. Through YOU, GOD shows HIS LOVE. He shows HIS LOVE wherever He has placed you. He does it through our faithful sharing, through our helping hands, through our ear, listening to one who is wounded in spirit. Through YOU He will have the pleasure of showing His INCREDIBLE LOVE for all eternity to these people.
God’s mission is to have a people He can lavish His love to.
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:6-8
This is the truth that I believe God wants us to lay hold of today.
The Bible declares very clearly that God is by very nature LOVE.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
The Bible sums it up in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Again God proclaims Himself over and over again in such words as those found in the following scriptures:
“And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generations.’ So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.” Exodus 34:6-8
“The LORD is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8
“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9
“Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.” Psalm 36:5-9
One of the primary biblical pictures of God is as a LOVER. This is a profound and important revelation of God which we need to keep meditating upon for the rest of our lives – though not seeing “love” in the worldly sense but in the purest sense as taught us in the Scriptures and revealed to us in the Person of Jesus.
I invite you to meditate with me on two simple truths and realities:
Firstly, I want us to meditate on the truth that GOD’S LOVE IS ALWAYS SEEKING TO FIND AND EXPRESS ITSELF TOWARDS THE OBJECTS OF ITS LOVE.
So why does God want a people for Himself? Because He MUST have a people like Himself whom He can love. He made man “in His image” – not because He wasn’t pleased with the animals that He had made, but rather so that He might have this most intimate relationship with a being like Himself. David in Psalm 8 writes: “He made us a little lower than God, and crowned us with glory and majesty.”
God shows His very beautiful and perfect loving nature in so many different ways. His love is mixed with all His other graces. For example, He is also a generous Lover, who longs to give His gifts generously to the objects of His love. “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3″4-7) So His people taste His love in the form or shape of His abundant goodness and kindness.
He is also a merciful and gracious Lover. He can’t help Himself. He cannot but show His mercy and grace to the objects of His love. He must find ways to ahow them how gracious He is when they are totally undeserving of His kindness. Even to the point of allowing them to fall in order to show them His grace in restoring them and lifting them up once again. What an awesome God!
AND YOU AND ME ARE AMONG THE PEOPLE UPON WHOM HE HAS ALREADY BEEN POURING HIS LOVE.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6
IIt’s too wonderful for words. Just think of why He chose you and set us apart for Himself:
- He wanted to show His incredible kindness towards a people who did not deserve anything, only rejection from a holy God.
- He wanted to show His power to people who were weak.
- He wanted to show the greatness of His love to a people who were ugly and without hope.
How can we hold back out praise? Our worship of God flows from His love and faithfulness for us, His chosen people.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5
The more we realize the awesomeness of God’s love for us, the more we fall down in awe, wonder, love and praise before Him. And this part of our lives is as important to God as all we want to do for Him.
f ever we feel that God doesn’t love us, this is NOT because God has temporarily withdrawn His love, but rather because our understanding and appreciation of how God loves is so shallow and weak, infected by our own self-love.
During this past week, I was meditating upon the words of Christ to His disciples just before He was taken to be crucified. He told them: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9) I realized that His disciples knew that He was speaking the absolute truth – that not even for one split second did Jesus lessen His love for them, even when their responses to Him were so “human” and foolish.
But then I thought to myself: “What about those times when Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief? When He called them ‘O you of little faith?’ Couldn’t such words from the lips of Jesus be construed as His being really impatient with them? Was this a moment when Jesus was not loving towards them?
But then I realized that I am thinking this way because I in my human way of loving feel a conflict between true love and speaking such strong words with someone. To be loving is to be nice! To be sugary sweet! But this isn’t true love. No, Jesus was in reality rebuking His disciples so that they would believe in Him and in His Father, so that they could then enter into the fullness of the pleasures of that divine relationship.
How we need to let go of our human way of understanding God’s love so that we won’t misinterpret some of God’s actions as being “against us” or “unkind.” ALL His actions towards His called-out ones are totally loving and kind.
How we need to believe that God loves us ALL THE TIME. To believe it no matter what our feelings might tell us. To give up our evil, unbelieving heart that says: “God cannot love such a poor, weak failure as I am! I am so imperfect.” Or, “why is He doing this to me? I must have done something (I don’t know what!) so that He is angry towards me!”
How sad it is when we act towards God like a wife who disbelieves the affirming, loving words of her lover-husband, and so cuts off from herself the flow of love that he is wanting to pour out upon her. “I’m not worthy of this love! It can’t be real!” And so the much loved wife can miss experiencing the wonderful love of her husband through her unbelief.
YOU, WE, are His people upon whom God is lavishing His love day and night, unceasingly, 100% love, 100% of the time. If we feel ourselves to be “unloved,” It’s not because God’s love has dried up. Rather it’s because we have stopped believing, or become consumed with our own selfish desires and interests, and have closed our hert in some way to His love.
HALLELUJAH! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE TREUTH! WHAT A MARVEL THAT GOD SHOULD CHOSE ME/US FROM AMONG ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH TO BE AMONG THOSE WHO MAY TASTE OF HIS ETERNAL PLEASURES AND RICHES.
How does all of this link up with GOD’S MISSION AND OUR MISSION? God as the great LOVER seeks and pursues and finds a people to love from all the peoples on earth – and this is what God is doing. And this is what we are to be about.
And this is what He has already accomplished so powerfully all over the world. We might see “just a little,” like a few grains of sand on the vast SEASHORE, BUT IN REALITY, ALL OVER THE WORLD God has already been doing great things in bringing many to Himself. His mission is being accomplished and it will be completed, perhaps even in our life-time.
The work that He has for us to do isn’t primarily just going out there to preach the Gospel, to witness to others, to “do,” to “work” for Him. We are out there so that through us,. People might hear of His love for them, and then become like us, RECIPIENTS OF HIS INTENSE AND IMMENSE LOVE.
We are a small but significant part of what God is doing all over the world. And knowing this will give us a strong sense of the importance of what we are doing, and motivates us to press on even when we feel so small and weak.
Our task, therefore, is to proclaim the true nature of God’s love to the people to whom God has sent us. To declare His heart to the nations – His heart of love, mercy, kindness, grace, generosity et al. To call the peoples of every nation to welcome His kindness to them, that He is still showing His great patience to the peoples, that instead of pouring out His wrath upon them, He is still giving them time to repent.
He is faithful in His calling people to Himself. We don’t have to worry about the “success” of our Mission – how many people He draws to Himself through our preaching, teaching and witnessing. That’s HIS business.
This reminds us again that our mission to the world cannot fail.
For that very reason, God calls us, His workers, to remember how kind He has been to us, how faithful He has been despite our faithlessness, how powerfully He rescued us form a life of hopelessness and misery. And to believe that He is able to accomplish the same work in others, and He is – and He will – and through us, weak and ordinary people.
For is this way, He manifests His power and draws forth praise from among us – as we realize the great things that He is doing through weak vessels, all we can say in response is: THIS MUST BE OF GOD. PRAISE BE TO HIS NAME!
Remember, doubt is sin, and we are responsible to control our thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5). When you allow doubts to fill your mind, then you live your life in a vicious circle of defeat. (James 1:6-8) So if today you are here with questions and doubts, let’s admit openly to God that we’ve had these, but then let the Word of God renew our faith and trust in God – our LOVER, and the God who is at work all over the world in order to have a people upon whom He can lavish His love – and who will then love Him in return.