"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." I Corinthians 12:28
It is interesting how we see ourselves, including after salvation. Even our perceptions of who we are and what God can do through us must be cast down (II Corinthians 10:5). Our image of ourselves, our past, our experiences, our weaknesses, our inabilities, our shortcomings, our comfort zones...must all be brought to naught and made new in Christ in order to move forward in Him.
I have long thought that my calling in the Lord was to be in the ministry of "helps". It seemed to be what I was good at: helping others. Someone needed help finding a job? I could help. Someone needed help with a particular writing? I could help. Someone needed a website created? I could help. Adults needed for children's church? I could help. A performance by the dance ministry was desired? I could help.
I was always happy to help others as it gave me a sense of purpose. I was being fruitful in the things of the Lord. After all, God has given us all talents for the benefit of the Body of Christ. Yet, there may come a time when God expects you to use your talents directly and not just lend them to others for the work He has called them to do. What about the work He has called you to do?
In the parable of the talents, each person had individual responsibility for investing the talents God had given them and bringing about their own resulting increase to the Kingdom. God gives "to every man according to his several ability" and each was held individually accountable. It was not enough for the servants to just give their talents to others to invest (Matthew 25:14-30). Similarly, we must prove our own selves faithful with what God has entrusted to us.
It is wonderful to help others in their work for the Lord, but we cannot hide there. The Lord has a work for us to do as well. It may be comfortable to be part of a team or a Body, but sometimes God will cull you out alone to go or do what He desires. We cannot stay in the background, but we must each take our own stand and get about the Father's business. We must each be personally accountable and personally responsible for that which He has given us to do.
Sometimes, when given a task to do by the Lord, we immediately limit ourselves. Like when God told Moses to go deliver His people, Moses immediately became self-conscious saying, "Who am I that I should do this?" (Exodus 3:11). I have felt this way before, even very recently. Upon the Lord telling us to step up, we start thinking of reasons why we are not capable of the task and why the Lord should choose someone else.
"And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the
dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is
not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And
also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he
will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be
with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall
do." Exodus 4:10-15
Moses had many reasons why he should not be the one to do what God asked. His entire concern was based upon his own insecurities and how he thought people would respond to him. Yet this is the thing, is it not God who is doing the work? Is there anything He is limited in doing? If we are depending on our smarts, our know-how, our strength, then surely we will fail. However, if it is the Lord of Hosts who ordains the work, will He not see it through to completion (Psalm 127:1)?
When discussing these issues with my pastor, He said to me, "You have to be responsible for bringing in the harvest just like every one else." That shocked me. Wasn't I helping to bring in the harvest? Yet that was just it. I had found my comfort zone being part of the crowd, blending in to the background, but God was calling me to step up from the shadows and get on the front lines of the battle. It has to be a personal war fought where God can bring about personal victories through willing vessels. Where are the sheaves being brought into the Kingdom based upon my life being laid down? Even this blog - which has also been a way for God to get me to deal more directly with people - has a certain amount of anonymity to it.
Upon this realization, I prayed, "Lord, help me not to see myself through my own eyes." Then I thought better and said, "Better yet, Lord help me not to 'see me', but to see you." When God leads us, we should not look to ourselves at all. Empowered by His Spirit, we can do all things. As we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will not be limited by our own [mis]perceptions.
Maybe God is leading some of you to step out and do what seems to be impossible - or at the least improbable. Maybe you hesitate because you don't feel capable, you are afraid of failing, or you have just gotten too comfortable where you are. Forget how you see yourself and let God's will unfold in your life. You will be amazed at what He can do...and you might not even recognize yourself in that kind of freedom!