Sometimes I get confused over my “purpose.” I feel confused over what I am to “do” and what I am to be. I, for one, heard enough sermons at my church last summer about needing volunteers to run programs that I got to thinking I should be “doing”, helping, organizing, something; something exceptional. Now I am not saying that doing is wrong but doing is not what God called me to be.
What if instead, we are called not to do but called instead, to be children of God.
When we relinquish our rights on our life and we become children of God then God can do something exceptional through us. But if we are trying to live for the exceptional and think to ourselves, “Oh I am supposed to be special and have a special ministry,” then we have missed the point entirely.
John the Baptist sat in prison. John the Baptist’ head was served on a platter. John the Baptist was told from his birth that he was supposed to be the herald, the introducer of Jesus Christ. He saw visibly with his eyes the Christ, he heard the words of the Father, “This is my Son, listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35)
His actual ministry was only three years long. He pondered as he sat in prison, knowing full well, that Jesus was on earth and he expected in his heart that Jesus would rescue him from prison. This would allow him to continue on his ministry because he knew he was called to be exceptional; but Jesus did not rescue him. John sent a message to Jesus asking, “Are you the one who is to come or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3)
John knew Christ firsthand and had seen the Christ with his eyes, but from his prison cell, his vision clouded and he doubted. I am sure John thought he had a lot more to do on earth. John the Baptist’s head was served on a platter.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel’s companions were mighty men of God. We know more about Daniel than these three fellows. They were thrown into the fiery furnace and they audaciously said to the King, “The God we serve is able to deliver us, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.
What was the crime they got sent to the furnace for? Living for God and not bowing to anyone else’s rules. God chose to miraculously save them.
Which, if any, of these men died for their lack of faith?
None of them, absolutely none of them. They were men of faith even if John the Baptist questioned. Questioning is not wrong, God can handle our questions. These men all had exceptional ministries even though they did not know it and they had a profound effect on Christians throughout history.
Now I ask you, when your life has fallen apart and you are sitting at the bottom of your pit and you are looking up, have you not said, “God where are you? God, are you even real? God, are you here?” much like John the Baptist? Because a prison cell does not have to be four walls surrounding you, it can be a lot of different life circumstances that we feel trapped in, we question and we doubt. Yet God is there.
Jesus ministry was only three years long. He came to this earth for that ministry, but it was only three years long. John the Baptists ministry appears cut short - to us. Yet in their own right they were exceptional and their lives still touch us today.
Are you going to continue to wait for the exceptional moments? Waiting for what “you” think is the right ministry for you, or perhaps waiting for that right moment before you begin? Will you wait for God to “rescue you” from your circumstances so you can become exceptional as you see it; or when it makes more sense or you have more time? OR, are you going to start to live now, in the moments God has given you right now? Because this is the day He gave you.
God wants to do extraordinary and exceptional things through you right now. He does not want you to be extraordinary, He wants to use you so that He can do the extraordinary and be the extraordinary one. Our pride takes over and we want it to be us who is exceptional.
When you open yourself up to God, you will not spend your time waiting for the future because the exceptional and extraordinary can happen in the here and now when you let God work in your life.
Will you let Him?