Ever ask for volunteers for something at your home church? Gets pretty rough getting much help, am I right? You hear lots of, “Let me pray about that first” or “I need to check with my spouse” … which is what we SHOULD say/do … but all too often that is church code for “No, but thank you for asking.”
Yet, ever ask for student volunteers in an elementary classroom? I kid you not, I can walk into any PK-5 classroom in my school … and without even telling the kids what I need help with … EACH and EVERY hand goes up!
Yes, EVERY hand! Why? Why do their hands go up? I mean, there have been MANY times I’ve had kids escort their sick peers and trash cans filled with vomit down to the office. YES, the kids know that, yet, they STILL raise their hands!
You could say that they just want to get out of the classroom. Or, you could say that they LOVE Mr. Caplin and they just want to do something cool for him. But, I don’t think so. I really don’t. Un-jaded and with a “child like faith” in their teachers, they are so eager to serve and they want a special role. They don’t even care what the role is. Why?!?!? They know that when the teacher chooses you … the task at hand is going to: 1) match their skill set, 2) increase their relationship with the teacher, 3) it will advance the good of the school, and 4) it might just get to be something way cool that few others get to do!
The bible says that Jesus – THE GREAT TEACHER – chose US! Nope, we didn’t choose Him. In fact, we were chosen for His own purpose long before time on earth even began (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:11; Matthew 22:14; Romans 8:28). We have all been called to co-labor with God, yet few are chosen. The problem isn’t with the calling or God’s ability to get the message to us … the problem is with the human response to the call. Yes, God knew the response of His own kids long BEFORE time began! He has a project for you that was in motion long BEFORE the foundations of the world!
The same way I walk into a classroom and announce a special project to EVERYONE, is the same way God walks into our lives and announces His special projects for us and the Kingdom. But, the same way the kids don’t ask first what the job is … we don’t get to ask God first! We say YES to His call, and then He fills in the details of our assignment.
In fact, we serve a God of “closed orders.”
During WWII, our ships and submarines were sent across the Atlantic with only partial orders – the bulk of the assignment was closed to the Captain, all officers, and crew. When the ship crossed a certain point in their journey … the rest of the orders were revealed. Why? If the Navy knew the full orders up front … they would either refuse the mission, be scared to death, think too much, over analyze, or mess up the special mission with their own efforts.
THAT is how God operates. We are on CLOSED ORDERS … but the key is to know that we serve a great teacher who chose us to advance His Kingdom. We must know that we belong to another to bear fruit … and we have been chosen for a special assignment (Romans 7:1-4). And, it might even be an assignment that very few will ever get to do!
My life verse is Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I. Send me.” Pretty simple verse, but I mean it with every ounce of my being. It doesn’t matter to me what role He assigns me, because I know that HE assigned it. I know that He has called me, and I’m willing to answer that call even if He doesn’t answer my list of questions first.
To God be the Glory.
Romans 8:29 The Message (MSG)
29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.