Text: Matthew 22:36-40
Grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen
If we look upon our faith as more than just the forgiveness of sins, and salvation, but a call to action in love and service to one another God will use us in ways we never necessarily thought possible. (Philippians 2:1-11) It’s just a matter of submitting ourselves completely to the will of a God who, in His love, understands our possibilities and our potential better than we, ourselves, understand it.
It’s easy to find excuses. They come naturally to us. Sometimes it’s just a matter of time as we look at our lives and it feels like we are too busy or overwhelmed as it is. Other times we just don’t necessarily think that we have the abilities, that there are those who would be better suited, better equipped to handle the calling of our God. Other times, well, it just feels like why would He possibly use me? I’m not good enough, I’ve made too many bad decisions, I’ve made too many bad choices, sinned too frequently, I’m just too imperfect for His will to be worked through me.
Perhaps we don’t say these things, at least not out loud. Yet somewhere in the back of our mind they linger, holding us back as we live our lives in a very basic faith, one that abides in forgiveness but leaves the work of the Kingdom to others.
We are not alone in our doubts, in our belief that God could perhaps use someone better than ourselves. Countless prophets, apostles and saints before us have believed the same thing. Moses never thought himself equipped with the gifts that He needed to lead his people from the bondage and the captivity of Israel. Matthew, called by our dear Savior to serve as a disciple, was a tax collector, considered the worst amongst the Jewish society of the day. How could he possibly carry out the will and the desires of the Lord to help Christ in His blessed ministry? Peter would deny, Thomas would doubt, Noah would drink, Jeremiah would complain. Hardly perfect in their gifts and sinful in their very being, God would still use them. Did some of them have other things going on in their lives, other things they would perhaps rather be doing? Undoubtedly. Yet, faith was, and has to be, more than a way of life, it has to be life itself.
“To live is Christ, to die is gain” as the Apostle would write. (Philippians 1:21) Living in Christ is to seek to live as the Redeemer himself lived, in perfect submittal to God’s divine will, (Ephesians 5:1-2) helping, giving of ourselves freely and openly in grace, mercy and love. (2 Corinthians 9:7) Whatever our flaws or failing, God can use us. Whatever our past or present situation may be, God can use us. Whatever our time obligations or responsibilities, God can use us. If He can take us from sin to sanctification, if He can move us from sorrow to salvation, imagine how much He can do in our daily lives to magnify that love He has first shown us into the world around us.
God, in His perfect understanding, doesn’t expect more from His children than He knows that they can give. (2 Corinthians 8:12) Yet, having known us while we were still in the womb, having formed us by His very hand, having laid out a plan for our lives before we even drew our first gasping lung full of air, He knows what we are capable of. (Psalm 139:13-18) As He calls us then He will not accept our second best, He will not accept whatever we have left over in our time and our abilities. The offerings that we give to him, whatever they may be, whatever He may call us to, must be our first fruits as we give ourselves over to His divine will and design for our lives.
Let God use you, dear brothers and sisters. Pray to Him that He may use you that His will may be done through you, and then give yourselves over to Him, submit to Him as He takes you and guides you to the work of His fields. Remember the words of hymn, “Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do,” while the multitudes are dying and the master calls for you. Take the task he gives you gladly; let his work your pleasure be. Answer quickly when he calls you, “Here am I. Send me, send me!’” We may not think we have the gifts needed, we may not believe that we are capable of doing what He has laid out for us to do. Yet He has so often done so much more with so much less than what you have to give. You just have to be willing to take upon you the yoke of Christ even as you lay the yoke of your burdens at His feet. (Matthew 11:28-30 ) It may not always be easy, it may not always be simple, but it is the path that those washed in the precious blood of the lamb must take as they give themselves over to the Lord.
Let your work then match your faith, (James 2:20) bear the fruits of the Spirit to edify and nourish those around you in the boundless and limitless hope of God’s unending compassion. You are given more than you need in the bountiful love of your God to do all that He call you to do, you just need to listen as He explains the gifts that He has given and how they are to be used. You need just to remember that your salvation is a gift from a present and loving God who wants you to share it with those around you. It is a light from your spirit and your soul that is meant to shine forth everyday in every way. Whatever your reasons may be, whatever cause or justification you may think you have, don’t hold it back. Be all that God calls you and you will find faith is richer and more fulfilling than you ever imagined.
Lord, grant this unto us all.
Now may the peace of the Lord that transcends all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting, Amen.