Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
What does God call us to do? One time I was meditating in my room when I found out that the 60% I had gotten on a test was not going to be curved and I now had no hope of getting an A in the class. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal now, but it was a really bad moment for me. So I sat down in my room, set my Bible next to me, and began to just think until I was ready to pray. In that meditation I came across a wonderful thought: everything without God is nothing. I opened my Bible to Ecclesiastes and found verse 5:18, “Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life God had given him, for this is his lot (ESV).” What this means to me is this: God has a plan for us and the best thing that we as people can do is to follow this plan for our lives. Usually when we think of living for God we think of leaving our entire lives and plans behind and living in some remote location to minister to people there. However, that just isn’t the case. God can use anyone, but that doesn’t mean he will use everyone. There will be some who are laid aside for God. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for Christ is live a quiet law-abiding life, bringing glory to God in our lives by doing everything we do to the best of our ability. Sometimes, by showing what hope in Christ means to our neighbors, we do more good than we would as a righteous missionary. Even in these moments, God has not abandoned us. God still loves us. God still has a plan for each and every one of our lives. It’s just that in this moment that plan does not mean being on the other side of the world. In these times in our lives, we can minister to people who are often overlooked. We can be the hands and feet of Christ to those in our own communities. In these times in our lives, it is imperative that we hold on to our faith. For if we cannot hold onto our faith when God is calling us to live in peace, how are we supposed to hold onto our faith when things get hard? Sometimes, before we can change the world around us, we have to change ourselves.
During my senior year of high school, this self-change came for me. From the outside, I was in a good place. I went to church; I was in a small group; I felt I knew all of the answers; I had my theology, but I felt empty. My spiritual growth was stagnant. I thought I didn’t need Christ. I thought I had my life all figured out. Instead, I was just making the same mistakes over and over again while seeing no need for change. One night in March, at my small group, we were talking about how the act of confessing our sins to each other is supposed to be a part of Christian Brotherhood. I had tried to give up porn for Lent, and that was going far from perfect. All of a sudden I realized that maybe it could all be easier if I just gave up this secret in my life. So I did, and the group as a whole had a great moment of vulnerability. However, that moment stuck with me. I had admitted, to a group that included some of my closest friends, that I wasn’t unstoppable. They knew that already, but it was the first time I had accepted it. And from that moment, things changed. By accepting that I needed Christ, I allowed the Holy Spirit into my heart. I still struggle with pride, and I still struggle with sexual temptation. But less than a year ago, I never would have admitted either of those things in something like this devotional. Now, rather than finding my strength in the idea that I can conquer whatever problem I just made for myself, I find my strength in the hope that salvation through Christ gives. And when we reach that point, we realize that God’s plans are better than ours. And when we put God’s plans before our own, we can truly be employed or laid aside by God. And that, my friends is when our lives are changed. When we set aside our ideas about ourselves and start listening for God, that is when we can become all that we were meant to be.