By Mark A. Taylor
“Do you believe you’re serving in the place God can use you best?”
A friend surprised me with that question several years ago. And maybe I was equally surprised by my answer.
“Yes,” I said.
My guess is that many Christians, certainly many Christian leaders, are a lot like me. We think about that question too little.
We choose ministries like a young professional plotting his next career move. How will this job position me to work later for the kind of church I really want to serve? Does it pay more than I’m earning now? Where do I want to live? Where will my spouse work?
None of these questions is necessarily wrong to ask. But isn’t it interesting that American preachers seldom move to ministries offering lower salaries or greater difficulty? And isn’t it concerning that church volunteers usually choose service that doesn’t intrude on their schedules or threaten their standard of living? And shouldn’t I be worried if I give God credit only for moves that make me more comfortable? How many Scriptural examples can I find of God calling someone to an easier task?
This is not to say, though, that every Christian worker with a decent house, a retirement fund, and a sunny disposition is somehow shallow or selfish. In fact, while some may think too little about God’s call on their lives, others may fret too much about it. The broken and buffeted world just outside every door cries out with needs God calls every believer to meet. Why wrestle with Choice A or Choice B when either allows me to reach, teach, and help? Why waste energy deciding to move when so much necessary work remains right where I am?
Something happens when I focus less on myself and more on the hurting world around me. Something changes when I take seriously the commands of Christ and the example of the apostles and the love of God for every lost soul nearby. I begin to take up tasks outside my experience or comfort or perception of my own abilities. And then, at the end of my own resources, I see God at work in my life; I realize what I’ve begun to achieve could not have happened with my own strength or talent alone.
Am I called to the path thus chosen any more than every Christian is called to complete obedience? Maybe it doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m allowing God to work through me. In my context I find my calling. I know God is eager to use me right here, right now.