Have you ever wondered why God, in his infinite power chooses us, fallible and weak as we are, to do his work? It’s something which always amazes me. That the creator of the universe chooses to use me, flawed, broken and unworthy as I am he still calls me to work with him. It’s humbling and tremendously exciting. But why? Surely, anything I can do he could do so much better. After all, he spoke the earth into being with a Word; surely he could reach out to the poor, the hurting, the sick, and the lonely with the same power. So why does he send us? Why does he use us when so often we fail and generally make a mess of things?
I’ve been thinking on this a lot lately and I’m reminded of an example form my childhood. I’m the middle of three; my sister is 2 years older, my brother 2 years younger than I. When we were kids my mother would bake and we would help her. Looking back I wonder if we were really that helpful. I mean, if the objective was to make a plethora of wonderful, tasty cakes, buns and other delights (mmm….! ) then surely having three small children in the kitchen, getting in the way, slowing things down, dropping stuff and generally making a mess is not going to help all that much. Yet my mother chose to have us there ‘helping’ and as I look back I can see three reasons which resonate with me as to why our heavenly Father chooses to allow us to be ‘fellow labourers’ with him.
- We learned how to cook. All three of us are now capable cooks more than able to take care of ourselves and our families. We learned the trade in those early years working alongside my mother, watching her working with her. The same applies to working and working with God "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28 (the Message) Jesus provided the example and now he calls us to put our hands to the plough and learn his work. Whether it’s ‘doing his work’ or just learning how to walk with him, by working alongside the Master, the great Teacher, we learn and we grow and we mature.
- We Loved to Cook. Those times were fun and in those times, by being involved, we came to love cooking, we shared in my mother’s love for the task and we came to love it ourselves. The same is true in God’s work, as we share in his work we begin to see the joy he has in the victories, the more time we spend working with the Master the more we see things through his eyes. We laugh when he laughs and we weep when he weeps. The task becomes more than a task. It becomes a labour of love.
- We drew closer to my mother and each other. Perhaps now we reach the greatest reason my mother let us help in the kitchen. She enjoyed it. She loved spending time with her children, we had fun together and we built relationships and memories. I still carry those warm memories today. God is our heavenly Father and although it may seem strange to us he actually wants to spend time with us. He loves us and he longs to have fellowship with us and by involving us in his work he is giving us a way to come closer to him. Spend some time working with him. He calls us “workers together with him” 2 Corinthians 6:1 (KJV) and he loves to share with us the great work he’s doing.
Sure the work itself is important (trust me, those buns, cakes and such were VERY important to us as young kids!) but in the importance of the work let’s not get so wrapped up that we lose sight of the one who called us and why. Don’t forget to take a moment and enjoy working with him, grow closer to him through the work, hey, have some fun and make a little mess along the way, it’s all part of the journey.
Oh, and don’t forget, there are tangible rewards too. After all, when we ‘helped’ our mother bake we got to lick the spoons and the bowls! And God’s work is the same, except the work is so much greater and the spoon is SOOO much sweeter!