Day 2: God, What are doing through others?
As we go through our daily routines, we are constantly being prodded to think about ourselves. To seek out the next best phone or to update our social media with pictures that really paint for the world who we are. Every time we go into a restaurant or the local retail store, we are met with displays designed to keep our minds fixed on what is “good” for us. Everywhere we turn, something wants our attention: TV’s at the grocery store, notifications on our phones, billboards and signs on the highway, even stop lights are used to convince us of the best apartment or fastest internet service. All around us, we are being wooed by lovers less wild and that's why we miss what God is doing so often.
I believe we are really self-absorbed. Everything - and I mean everything - is about us. Often when we convince ourselves that we are doing something for someone else, we find our own motives tied up in it somehow. When we are constantly fixed on our own desires, we will miss how God is working through others, using other people to bring Him glory. Everywhere around us people are in need. From the neighbor whose husband just suddenly passed through death into life to the toddler whose single-mom has to work 12 hours a day to just provide food and housing. All around us God is using people to step beyond their everyday circumstance and change the world for someone else. In fact, I would argue that as God uses other people to serve others, He does so by leading them to use their gifts.
Years ago, a friend of mine was telling me about something he felt he LORD had laid upon his heart years before. He and his wife would spend some of the summer months in different parts of developing countries working to provide different opportunities for the people of those nations. Sometimes it was building projects, other times it was basic agriculture training or insight. While working on one of the projects, he realized the people were hard pressed to get water to their crops consistently. Due to limited rainfall and arid conditions, their water supply was sparse. Because of this, people weren’t able to produce crops that could sustain their families. Just stop and think for a moment what it might be like if you were dependent on crops for bodily health, financial stability, and even for the welfare of your family. Without water, basic survival would be in question. My friend felt compelled to develop something that would help these people to find a way to better irrigate their crops by a slow drip system that would allow them to preserve water for both their crops and their families. He was able to make it from simple rubber piping and zip ties with some other simple adjustments. The overall cost was something like $10 and it would help sustain an entire family.
I remember hearing that story and thinking, “that’s living the Gospel.” The key to this was that my friend was a successful business person with an extensive career in a strong IT company. However, he saw what God was up to and joined Him. It didn’t require too much of him and yet it required everything. There are people just like my friend everywhere. Business people who give up vacation time they have earned to spend 10 days in developing countries bandaging wounds and giving eye care to people who have never been able to see beyond their hands. Some people take their skills on the weekend and help build ramps for wheelchair access or work on cars for single-parents or college students. Some people in the medical field set off for different parts of the world to provide women with medical attention that is almost completely unheard of in their part of the world. Some people cannot go themselves and so they give up frequent flyer miles, monthly support, one-time gifts, and even provide supplies to make sure that the work can be done.
All of these people are conduits for the work of God. God is working through these people to accomplish the task of helping the world see Him. Today, I want you challenge you to consider how God works through others and your focus will be Jesus and the gifts he has given us.
Read Philippians 2:5-11 and consider: What does it mean that Jesus’ emptied himself to serve others? Who is someone that you know or have heard of that has followed Jesus’ example? If you can, reach out to that person and tell them how their example has encouraged you.
Read Ephesians 4:1-16 and consider: Do I really believe that God has gifted me to for His glory and not my own? In what ways do I see God working through the gifts of others to bring Him glory? How do these acts of service truly bring him glory?
Make a list of 3-5 people you believe God is working through and find a way to encourage them sometime during this 7 day devotional.
Go in Peace!