When the Lord gives us an assignment, he gives us what we need to complete our work and he expects that we will rely on him and not ourselves along the way. This is exactly what we see with the twelve apostles of Jesus when he sends them out to minister…
1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. 10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done.
Luke 9:1-6, 10
There are a couple more pieces to the puzzle here. It is assumed that we are available for God’s work. Isn’t that a precursor to be used of God? We have to make ourselves available, and for the 21st century Christian, perhaps more than other generations, availability is strained by our busyness and digital preoccupations.
Would you say to God today, Lord, I am available for the work you have for me to do in my world today?
There was a time in my life in which I prayed this kind of prayer in the morning, and God would provide opportunities for me to interact with people and pray with people in ways that I never expected. This is my prayer this morning. I want to have that kind of day today. And tomorrow.
Unfortunately, one of the downfalls, and maybe you identify with this, is that we take our own ideas and plans and preparations and confidences and pride and prejudices with us when we go out to serve God. Every one of these interferes with God’s work and God’s equipping and empowering of his people for his service. We become like Jonah’s, being available for everyone except those people, Lord… (Jonah 1-4).
Or we become like King Saul, who took matters into his own hands because he thought he knew better than God in what to do next (1Samuel 13). We can be our worst enemies when it comes to completing God’s work. And the best advice is that of Jesus. When you go out, take nothing with you. Rely on God to complete his tasks for you. If he gives you the calling, he will enable you to complete the work.
Naysayers are a trap. Don’t fall into them, lest you fail to complete your assignment because of the obstacles of those who don’t share or support God’s plan. There will be people who do not believe you are capable of being used by God in this way. They will think you are too old or too young or too inexperienced or they will use your past to deny your future. They will not welcome your ministry or acknowledge your calling.
Paul’s words to Timothy come to mind. Timothy was a young man who was called by God to speak, preach, and teach. Unfortunately, many people around him focused on the young part and ignored the called part. So Paul had to say these words to Timothy, “11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift,” (1Timothy 4:11-14).
We are in danger of neglecting our gifts and calling when we listen to the voice of the world over the voice of God. And God is clear: “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable,” (Romans 11:29). When David was a shepherd boy, his own father would have nullified the call of God on David’s life if Samuel had not have been certain to obey God’s call. Jesse didn’t even bring David before the prophet, believing that David couldn’t be the one God was looking for (1Samuel 16).
The call of God and the work of God and the associated glory are all God’s. We get to be David’s and Timothy’s and Jonah’s when we simply and faithfully accept God’s call to his work and rely on his equipping to succeed. Which brings me back to you and me.
For what and to what are we called today? Will we surrender to God’s call and rely on his equipping to complete his assignment for us?