Did you ever feel like you had gotten a glimpse of God at work?
God could execute his plan for humanity in any number of ways. Amazingly, he has chosen to use ordinary, everyday people to accomplish his work on earth. To make that possible, each of us is given talents and experiences that can be used to be of service to others.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Last week, my wife and I spent three days showing the book STEPS at the ICRS event, perhaps the largest Christian book show in the world. The event didn’t start out well for me, because I went into the first morning with a somewhat self-centered attitude, alternatively thinking “what am I doing here?” and “what can I do to market my book?” During the day, however, I found my attitude slowly changing.
As I talked to other authors and retailers, I was touched by their stories. Often, something significant, often traumatic, had occurred in their life which inspired them to do what they were doing. They seemed invigorated to be able to act on that calling to help others.
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” (Booker T. Washington)
I heard of ministries born out of heart-breaking trials including child abuse, addiction, marriage issues, illness, and even death. Each person there had their own personal goals, but they also genuinely wanted to help others. But there also seemed to be a larger plan connecting the group, a mutual desire to help people improve their lives and grow closer to God. As this bigger picture slowly came into focus, it was both beautiful and inspiring.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
It humbled me to realize how myopic my thinking had been earlier in the day. But it excited me to think I might actually be getting a glimpse of God at work. There were many lessons to learn about how he uses people to accomplish his plan on earth:
- Each of us can play a role in God’s plan, and all types of people can be involved.
- Miraculously and wonderfully, God uses flawed people to do very good things.
- Sometimes, our flaws and trials are exactly what he uses to help other people.
Later that week, I had the honor to appear on the Atlanta Live television show. At the end of the interview, the host asked me what I thought about the broadcast. I remembered the other guests on the show, which included another author, a pastor, an advocate for the homeless, and someone representing a ministry for abused youth. Once again, the big picture of how God does his work through ordinary people came to mind. Again, I was reminded of the importance of each of us playing our small part in his larger plan.
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” (Mother Teresa)
When we focus only on our daily wants and cares, it’s easy to miss the big picture of how God is working all around us. Sometimes, if we are willing, he is also working through us.
What part are you meant to play in God’s plan?