Used by God
One of the first people I met, at the church I now belong, is Ralph. He is an elder and has been serving for many years. Now in his eighties he can be found every Sunday morning, at our new church plant location, ushering for the 11am service. When I first met him he welcomed me with these words, “I am so glad you are here we need your service as a biblical counselor because our church has many hurting people in need of help.” I had no idea he even knew anything about me. This was my first of many encounters with Ralph and his artful way of ministering to a person in 60 seconds or less.
My second encounter with Ralph, I asked him how he liked the music being so contemporary and loud. His profound answer, “It is not my favorite, but I must be open to learning from the younger if I hope to minister the wisdom of the older to them.” He helps the older to adapt to the younger and the younger to embrace the older. What a beautiful example of the ministry of the church.
When I meet a new person at church I often look to see if Ralph is around so I can introduce them to him. His welcome is so endearing, embracing, and it never takes him more than a few moments. What a beautiful gift.
I introduced him to a counselor who has just become a member of our church counseling team. Ralph welcomed her and said. I took some classes years back on biblical counseling, and I still use what I learned, to help my wife and I as we do premarital counseling. He told her it was a powerful way of serving the people. She walked away feeling embraced and her service valued.
God made us in order to use us, and use us in the most profitable way; for His purpose not ours. To live a life for God means subordinating all other interests to that single fact.
Sometimes our job seems to be that of a tool, taken up when wanted, used in way which we had not expected, for an object on which our opinion is not asked, and then laid down. Sometimes we are servants, left year in, year out to the same monotonous job. Sometimes we are fellow-workers with the Lord, striving to bring the Kingdom in. But whatever our particular job may be, sometimes, perhaps carrying on for years with something we do not enjoy; because it needs doing, and no one else is available. We may accept a situation quietly, when a job we felt that we were managing excellently is taken away. Taking responsibility if we are called to it, or just bringing food to someone in need, cleaning the kitchen, or shoveling the snow. All self-willed choices and obstinacy drained out of what we thought to be our work; so that it becomes more and more God’s work in us. Ralph is a beautiful example of the work that God does in a person’s heart for His glory.
Carlo Carretto in his book, The God Who Comes, wrestles with the complexities of the ministry of the Church, “How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I should like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand sanctity.
I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, and more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, although not completely.
And where should I go?”
Where can we go for God to do the most magnificent work in us, the best place to start is serving the Lord in His church. How is God being glorified by the work He is doing in your heart?