The message was clear. There comes a time to stop bragging and talking and planning and thinking and practicing and dribbling … and just do it! Just put the ball in the basket!
In the same way, there comes a time for Christians–for you and me–to stop merely reading and studying and discussing and thinking and praying and repenting … and just do it! Put all that you know and all you’ve experienced into practice and start living it out. Now.
You cannot grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ and do nothing! If you claim, “I’ve seen the Lord,” what difference has it made? What difference can others see? What impact has your experience of Jesus had on your life?
Compelled by the Vision
Because Isaiah had seen the Lord, he obeyed God’s call.
Because Ezekiel had seen the Lord, he obeyed God’s call.
Because Paul had seen the Lord, he obeyed God’s call.
Because John had seen the Lord, he obeyed God’s call.
If you have seen the Lord, what have you done?
Why are you still standing there in the same place you’ve been? This is your wake-up call! It’s time to get up. It’s time to suit up. It’s time to answer God’s call by returning to the cross, repenting of your sin and just doing it. Recommit your life to Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Compelled by Your Love
When you love others, do you find it hard to sit still and do nothing for them when they’re nearby? I do.
Recently, when I went home to visit my father, I was reminded of the way serving others expresses our love for them. For years and years, my father has been very strong and self-sufficient. He has served, given, worked and ministered to others–and to me–for as long as I can remember. For my entire life I have been the recipient of his loving actions.
As Daddy has grown older, he has become more and more physically inactive. He has difficulty keeping his balance when walking and has become quite deaf. He can no longer hike to the ridge of the mountain with me or hear on the telephone or even enter easily into conversation at the dinner table.
While I have mourned the loss of his physical strength and share his frustration over the fullness of inner life that is bound in the weakness of an outer body, I have derived great joy and personal pleasure in being able, at long last, to do something for him. I love to bake him a homemade apple pie or fix a pot roast with all the trimmings for Sunday lunch. I love to run to get a requested book or find his dark glasses for him before he goes outside. I love to adjust his chair to just the right angle. I love doing those little things that say, “I love you!”
It stands to reason that we want to do something for those we love. Do you love Jesus–really love Him? I do! And in my love for Him I seem to hear Him whispering to my heart the same thing He said to Peter that day so long ago beside the Sea of Galilee …
Peter had just had a dramatic, fresh encounter with the risen Jesus. Peter had seen the Lord. The sun was rising in the morning sky, the fire was burning down, and the last morsels of fish and crumbs of bread had been consumed. Jesus then turned His full attention to Peter. Lovingly, patiently and persistently He challenged Peter: If you love Me, do something for Me.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul’s vision of the glory of the resurrected Jesus compelled him to immediately do something about what he had seen. He began telling people in Damascus about Jesus; then he proceeded to Jerusalem, Judea, and the rest of the known world. He just couldn’t have an encounter with the living Lord Jesus Christ and do nothing!
The work Jesus had for Peter was different than the work He had for Paul, a lesson underscoring the Scripture that tells us, “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:5, NIV). The work He has for me will be different than the work He has for you.
Some of us teach, some preach and some provide technical assistance with audio, video and computers.
Some of us keep the nursery, some cook in the kitchen and some lead in worship.
Some of us write books, some write music and some give legal counsel to the poor. Some of us visit prisoners, and some greet church visitors and some clean the sanctuary.
Some of us feed the hungry, some house the homeless and some care for the dying.
Compelled by His Command
What we do for Jesus doesn’t have to be something big. The important thing is to just do what He has called us to do. Our motivation for obedient service is not a sense of duty, not our pride or privileges, not our reputations or responsibilities. It is the same revival fire that burned within Peter and Paul. We have seen the Lord, and we work for Him simply because we love Him and because He says so.
The same was true for Isaiah. Following his vision of the glory of the Lord, he humbly made himself available for service. Almost immediately, the assignment was given: “Go and tell this people …” (Isaiah 6:9, NIV). His assignment was to relay the message God gave him to people who would “be ever hearing, but never understanding” (Isaiah 6:9, NIV). He was assigned to go to people who just would never get it. But Isaiah obeyed the Lord and became the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.
Who are the people the Lord is sending you to? Your family? Your neighbors? Your coworkers? Your business partner? Your church congregation? Your students? Your classmates? Your roommates? Are you flinching, hesitating, procrastinating or resisting because it just seems so hard?
Sometimes I wonder if we, living in America in the 21st century, know what “hard” really is. During the 1890s, “Uncle” Jimmy Graham, as he was affectionately known, was sent by God to the people of China as a missionary with his wife, “Aunt” Sophie. Joined by Absalom Sydenstricker, author Pearl Buck’s father, Jimmy opened the mission station that my maternal grandparents joined in 1916. Uncle Jimmy studied and quickly caught onto the tonal language, then began to preach the Gospel from village to village and town to town in Kiangsu Province. For more than 18 months, he never had even one positive response to his message. Aunt Sophie said that when he returned home there was not a night that he was not covered in bruises from the rocks the peasants had hurled at him or when his face wasn’t dripping with their spit.
Years later, my mother had an opportunity to ask him if he ever got discouraged. She said he looked perplexed, as though he didn’t know what that word meant. He responded, “No. No. The battle is the Lord’s, and He will deliver it into our hand.”
What hardship do you face as you go about your work for the Lord? Can it compare with the challenges faced by Uncle Jimmy Graham–or by Isaiah?
Don’t dodge your assignment because it seems to lack any chance for success or because it seems such an insignificant, small thing. The Church in Europe was birthed when the Apostle Paul spoke to a handful of women on a riverbank. The size and scope of the assignment are up to God, and the effectiveness and lasting impact of your service are also His responsibility. You and I are simply to be faithfully available … and obedient.
The assignments God has given me have taken me way beyond my comfort zone. While some of them have begun small and stayed small, others have begun small and grown larger, while still others started large and blossomed into major tasks.
There have been times when I have argued, resisted, procrastinated and questioned, but in the end I always give in, because He is my Lord. I have “seen” Him, and I love Him. I don’t serve Him because I have to. I serve Him because I want to do something for Him. And in the process of being obedient, I have come to know Him. He has “made known to me the path of life. He has filled me with joy in His presence, with eternal pleasures at His right hand” (Cf. Psalm 16:11).
With eagerness and enthusiasm, I want to serve the Lord all the days of my life. I am on a passionate pursuit for more of Jesus. I embrace the cross that shatters the stranglehold of self and enlarges my capacity to receive more. I long …
to gaze on His visible face,
to hear His audible voice,
to feel His unmistakable touch,
to become an eyewitness of His glory.
In the meantime, I raise my hand as I move my feet. “Here am I. I’m available for service. Send me. I’m willing to just do it!”