Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Trusting God in Our Service

"We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;” (1 Thessalonians 1:2–4, NASB95)

In my search for where God was leading Robin and me, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with and get to know in some way a number of individuals who have been charged by their church to seek out and select a person to recommend to their respective churches that they might vote on and then call. For most of them this is a long and difficult task as they first have to begin the lengthy process of evaluating the needs of the church, establishing a profile describing the desired traits of an acceptable applicant, and seeking and gaining approval for their search criteria. Then they can begin the process of searching, where frequently they have well over one hundred interested applicants respond. From these individuals they begin the process of putting long and frequent hours into filtering through packets and resumes, praying about their choices, and narrowing them down to a much smaller group that they read more fully and more in-depth. This process continues until they can trim the group down to a number that usually fits on one hand. Then they begin the process of interviewing, listening to or viewing sermons, checking backgrounds and speaking with references, and even traveling to hear the individual(s) speak in person, with the objective of arriving at one individual who they can invite to their home church as a formal candidate. This all seems pretty logical and a pattern that would be easy to follow, but in most cases it is not that simple. There might not be one clear choice, and then the person they decide upon may not even be available when they arrive at their decision, knowing that just as they are working through a number of individuals the individuals themselves may be speaking with a number of churches.

If there were any task that we might think of the need to bring every consideration before God and seek His wisdom and direction, this one as I have observed, is definitely near the top of the list. Though in reality, everything we face should be at the top of our list. Whether it is a relatively big thing, with the welfare of others looking to us, or a small thing in our comparison scale, our need to stay conscious of God and relying on Him is integral to how we should live our lives.

Apart from God, burdens like these are huge. We could look at being on such a committee as a monstrous task where ultimately we might even make the wrong choice. We could easily become overwhelmed and grow weary, even wanting to give up. We might get irritated at others on the committee when they don’t agree with our own preferences. There is so much that could go wrong, and we would be responsible for it. This would be something very easy for us to feel, if we thought as if the recommendation and/or decision really rested solely only on us. But thinking this way would be thinking a lie. And no matter how big the issue, any thinking along these lines is buying into the same lie.

We have a God who has a purpose for us and for His church, and He has promised to direct our steps. What He has told us to do is to bring everything to Him, weigh everything before Him, search His word for direction, and listen to the leading of His Spirit, and here is the big one—trust Him for the outcomes knowing even if we don’t get it quite right that He will still continue His work and accomplish His purposes. He is faithful and we are called to trust in His faithfulness, and the biggest thing we can do in relation to this is to bring everything before Him, as Sarah says in today’s “Jesus Calling,” step-by-step.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:23–24, NASB95)
“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, NASB95)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NASB95)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/15)

Try to stay conscious of Me as you go step-by-step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I ascended into heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception.

The promise of My Presence is a powerful protection. As you journey through your life, there are numerous pitfalls along the way. Many voices clamor for your attention, enticing you to go their way. A few steps away from your true path are pits of self-pity and despair, plateaus of pride and self-will. If you take your eyes off Me and follow another’s way, you are in grave danger. Even well-meaning friends can lead you astray if you let them usurp My place in your life. The way to stay on the path of Life is to keep your focus on Me. Awareness of My Presence is your best protection.

“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:20, NASB95)

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, NASB95)

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