Tuesday, December 16, 2008

God Has a Mission for Each of Us

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you," God said to a reluctant Jeremiah in calling the prophet to his life mission. "Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jer. 1:5, NIV).

"He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth," said the angel Gabriel in predicting the coming of John the Baptist. "Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:15-17).

For each of His children, God has a unique mission in mind from the beginning.

While few Christians are called to be famous prophets or even megachurch pastors, most of us have some sense of being suited for a particular type of work. Not all our dreams are of God, of course--one danger signal is when we start thinking in terms of self-gratification, whether "health and wealth" or a sense of pride that we've done something great--but for every believer who makes his own plan and asks God to bless it, there's probably another who is too afraid or too lazy to follow through on a genuinely God-given vision. How many of us will spend our lives working at jobs we hate while dreaming of what we could be doing--and one day, like the lazy servant in the parable of the ten minas, will find ourselves trying to explain to God that "I didn't use what You gave me because I didn't trust myself--or You"?

Some people never even bother asking God what He wants them to do with their lives. Sad as that is, perhaps some of them are better off than those who know what He wants and keep putting it off. Or worse, who are willfully blind to it.

Worst of all are those who do ask--but who, consciously or unconsciously, have decided that they'll only accept God's answer if it fits their preconceived conditions. The Israelites in Jer. 42:1-43:7 were like that. First, asking the prophet for advice, they declared that "we will obey the Lord" no matter what He told them to do; then, when they got an answer they didn't like, they called God's spokesman a liar and proceeded to go through with their own plans.

Usually, God's overall mission for a life is related to things we enjoy doing--but in ways far grander and farther "out of the comfort zone" than we imagine. Are we willing to step out in faith, trusting that God's way will ultimately bring us more fulfillment than anything we could plan for ourselves?

God has a mission for each of us
Long before we set foot on earth:
He plans every life yet unconceived
And decrees each one's path at birth.
While some have been called to serve in wealth,
Some are rich in the Lord alone;
While some leave huge tracks in history,
Many labor obscure, unknown.

God has a mission for each of us;
Yet so many defy His will:
We make our own plans at our own whims,
And presume our own good or ill
Are best decided by we ourselves;
But the Lord of all lives knows best,
And to go our own ways brings only grief,
And will lead us to little rest.

God has a mission for each of us:
If we trust Him to guide our ways,
We'll do greater things than we'd conceive;
If we walk with Him all our days,
We will find our lives are filled with joy,
And when the final day does come,
Will find greater blessings await us still,
When He smiles and He says, "Well done!"

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