This topic came up in a recent devotional, but for those of you who are nearing the end of your volunteer term, I want to bring it up again, because by this point, you might find yourself in one of two camps:
1. I’ve got this.
2. I’ll survive this.
You only have a few months left, and you are either gritting your teeth or grinning with confidence (and of course some of you are somewhere in between). I just want to remind you, wherever you are, that this is God’s work, not yours. This is explained so clearly in a quote from the book Messiah, an adaptation of the Desire of Ages:
“Before honor comes humility. God chooses workers who are humble to fill the highest positions of power. The most childlike follower is the best worker for God–he or she feels the need for divine help and pleads for it. This follower will succeed where more intelligent or talented workers fail, because they depend on God and follow His plan. When Christians begin to think highly of themselves and feel that their abilities are needed in order for God’s work to be successful, God sets them aside. His work goes on without them.” – p. 251
The last few times I have come across this quote, I have been reminded of my own experience, especially in the mission field. It seemed that at the times I felt like I was an indispensable player for my mission team—God set me aside, and the work went on without me. Once for illness, the second time for injury. I don’t believe God was punishing me, but He was able to teach me through these experiences that it is truly God’s work, and He can get it done with or without us. It is our privilege to work with Him. Knowing this frees us to rest, knowing that it is not all up to us. It frees us from the full weight of responsibility, no matter how much we may know, or what vital role we play, or how indispensable we think we are. It reminds us that this work is bigger than us—He began it before we arrived, and He will continue it after we leave. God allows us to be written into the story and to play our unique part, but it is a privilege. Not a right or even a need.
On the other hand, God loves to use those who are humble and teachable, even if it has to come with some suffering, because those are the ones looking to Him and waiting for Him in desperate devotion. He loves to strengthen and encourage these workers especially, and to remind them also that this is His work—He will take care of it, and will equip them to be a part of it.
In summary, what is it that God is looking for so He can do His best work in and through us? This list is probably incomplete, but perhaps the following qualities might give you something to think and talk to God about:
1. Humility – to know that I can’t do it on my own.
2. Faith – to know that God can and will do what He has promised.
3. Willingness – to let God take over and do it His way.
4. Love – the divine power and reason behind all God does in and through me.
“God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” 1 Cor. 1:28 (NLT)
*Twice a month we send a devotional to our long-term student missionaries and volunteers. This devotional was sent on March 10, 2014.