Thursday, April 19, 2012

Inadequate Messengers


God uses human instruments to bring to men the message of his truth and love; but it is he alone who wakes the hearts of men to new life.  As he alone created the heart, so he alone can re-create it.
William Barclay, DSB: The Letters to the Corinthians, p. 31

Followers of Jesus are called to be be ambassadors and missionaries to the world.  We cannot escape from that responsibility, it is woven into the fabric of what it means to be a Christian.  It is a huge and important calling to be sure and most of the time we feel inadequate for the task.  After all we lack the resources and the talents that we think are necessary in carrying God's message of love and truth to the world.

First I want to pause for a moment and say that is true.  The mere presence of sin my life makes me inadequate, not to mention the lack of knowledge we have about the way the world works, the Bible, and the circumstances of other people's lives.  So let us hang out here and confess that we are inadequate for the job at hand.

Now there are two pieces that I want to add to this.  There is the piece that being a citizen of God's Kingdom begins with being "poor in Spirit." Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with; "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3; ESV).  Part of being a follower of Jesus is having the realization that we don't have what it takes and that we must depend on God to provide us with everything that we need; whether that is our daily bread, patience to deal with difficult people, or the words to share with those who are searching for truth.  

The second piece is the importance of being true to who God created us to be. The apostle Paul reminds us of this truth when he wrote:
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness (Romans 12:3-8, ESV). 


This isn't just about having a certain talent set, but about figuring out how to use those talents God has blessed us with for His Kingdom.  It is through using our unique set of talents for God's Kingdom which enables us to find our purpose in life.

With that being said we need to remember that the only person that we have any control over is ourself.  While God has given us the responsibility to take His message of love and truth to the world He has not given us responsibility to change the hearts of other people.  That responsibility lies with God Himself, and therefore we do not need to worry about how people will respond we just need to focus on the best and most effective ways to use our gifts and talents for God's Kingdom.  What a sense of relief that reality should give us.

2 comments:

f said...

"He has not given us responsibility to change the hearts of other people. That responsibility lies with God Himself, and therefore we do not need to worry about how people will respond we just need to focus on the best and most effective ways to use our gifts and talents for God's Kingdom."
I hadn't considered this. It gave me pause. Very interesting thought. Thank you.

Paul Steele said...

Glad you discovered something that you hadn't considered before. I like the thought because it takes a load of responsibility off of our shoulders. That doesn't mean it makes it easy, because more often than not the people we would like to see have a changed heart are people who are close to us. It just reminds us of what we need to focus on doing.

Our Identity

{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}   This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people i...