“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Back at the beginning of the month, I wrote about how Beth Ann called stewardship “taking care of Gods’ stuff” and that everything is really Gods’ stuff. As we’ve explored the topic we’ve talked about all sorts of things — our gifts, our pain, our reading, our singing, our words, the roles we play in the family and in life. I’ve come to see that God not only made us, he also made everything we experience in this life. He planned it all so that we would have the talents, tools and opportunity to do specific tasks for Him.
When something we don’t understand or don’t like comes our way, instead of whining or becoming bitter, we should be thinking, “how can I use this for God?” Instead of worrying about “how am I going to get through this situation” we should be saying, “what does God want me to learn?” Instead of turning our back on an uncongenial person, we should be considering, “how can I help this child of God He has sent to me?”
I don’t know about you, but for me this is a hard teaching. I’d like to think the Christian life is about fulfilling my purpose, but guess what? That’s all wrong. It’s about fulfilling God’s purposes–I’m just the tool. I’m not the first person to realize this (not a surprise). I’m going to close with a quote from John Henry Newman, which sums it all up perfectly:
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place,
while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”
― John Henry Newman