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Being of use to God or trying to use God?

Most of you reading this devotion would join me in agreeing that we believe in God and that we trust that He uses His hand in history to work “all things together towards good”. We say this, but what do believe this when bad “things” that are happening to us? Do we still hold that lofty notion that “He is sovereign”, when torments comes to our emotional life (consider the prophet Jeremiah), or do we whine, worry, fret, or (worse) go on the attack by suggesting that someone else is responsible for bad things coming our way? It’s funny how we can clearly see God working in circumstances to “open the eyes” of someone else that we think needs to be shaken up a bit when they are getting slapped around, but we see things quite differently when it happens to us.

In talking to other Christian leaders of late, I am surprised that much of the methods they discuss in handling hardship, or giving good leadership, or addressing problems or even preparing for evangelism focuses more upon “what works” to get the desired result in a worldly sense, than doing the right thing as taught in scripture and going about it openly and transparently.

Is it right to try to manipulate God —-and His servants—to accomplish our agenda and dreams—even if these goals are noble? Is it right to “do whatever it takes” to stop suffering or torment within our own souls, or have we forgotten abandonment and trust in God?

What caused me to write this is I have talked to many folks in the past few years about “marketing” our ministry to families (we’re a summer camp) along with fund raising, capital drives and so forth. But the consistent counsel I get back from the Christian “pros” is the exact same kind of reasoning and advice I would expect from a publicist for a movie star! And I am not trying to be unkind, but somehow “Madison Avenue” and “Wall Street” seem to have replaced the kind of spiritual, “other-worldly” direction on how to do God’s work in the counsel I am hearing. I have not yet heard or seen a plan that focuses on God and His people—-it’s all about strategies, “development of resources”, properly packaging the message, ya da, ya da.

I struggle in my work and spiritual walk as all men trying to follow God do, but I hope to never be found to be struggling with God about my work and walk. He is aware of all my challenges and dreams and hopes. It’s good to act wisely and circumspectly in business, family life and ministry. But living for “results” rather than living an abandoned life for Him leads to a lot of frustration and depression. He is the goal and the desired end result—-nothing else. If I order and plan my life accordingly, I will found to be a good and faithful servant and a blessing to those I know.

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