“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing” (John 5:19-20a ESV).
I believe that we Christians spend way too much time on the shore. All the while the river flows freely. It changes everything it comes in contact with. Loose sand and soil along the bank is swept downstream. Rocks on the river bottom are endlessly tossed and smoothed by the determined torrent of of water. Life infused. Life-giving. Water.
Countless organisms find that life beneath the roiling waters. From organisms too small to see to fish of all sizes, reptiles and great aquatic mammalian species, all find their life and sustenance in her turbid flow. Ducks and geese feed atop her ripples.
To be sure, the river also provides for those along the shoreline. Plants and trees pull water from the soil, enriched with nutrients picked up along its journey. Animals large and small make their way to the river drink their fill of most important resource the earth has to offer.
Yet we stand along her borders, perhaps dipping the occasional toe to test the waters. We find the temperature too cold for our liking, or the current much too swift for our skills. We reason to ourselves that we are just not ready; our training hasn’t quite prepared us for this yet. So we stay upon the banks.
I have heard it said that when we are unsure of what God wants us to do, our calling, that we need to look at the world around us, see what God is doing, and join Him in that work. This may seem counter intuitive. It doesn’t presuppose a calling, a gifting, or even a skill. It looks past ability (or even inability!) to availability. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV emphasis mine). Again, it’s about availability.
Jesus understood this concept, and worked it exclusively. He was conscious of His purpose and calling, most certainly, but acknowledged that “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” All too often we become so caught up with what we perceive as God’s calling on our lives that we ignore the other ways that God may want to use us. Just because we believe that God has called us to full- time ministry, and He very well might have, that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want to use us to help clean the church, move a family, pass out bulletins, or help clean up the mess of a backed up sewer.
Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35b ESV). There are no tasks that are beneath us. Understanding this is of great importance. I can’t say it enough. It’s all about availability.
When we mindfully search the world around us to see what God is doing, where He is moving, where there is a need, we will begin to understand what ministry is all about. When we grasp that our inabilities, and weaknesses make us valuable to God, Whose “power is made perfect in weakness” (2Corinthians 12:9 ESV), that’s when it’s time to jump in the river of the workings of the Holy Spirit.
Have a blessed weekend!
**Image from http://ylp.ucmerced.edu/program
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