Everybody has a vocation to some form of life work. But behind that and deeper than that, everybody has a vocation to be a person, to be fully and deeply a human being, to be Christlike. And the second thing is more important than the first. It is more important to be a great person than a great teacher, butcher or candlestick maker. And if the only chance of succeeding in the second is to fail in the first, the failure, from God’s point of view, is fruitful. ~Brennan Manning, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the universe, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. ~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Philippians 2
Oh beloved, it is true. We know the things He would have us to do, but we are so afraid. We shrink from the grand plans, and even try to avoid the mundane of our call to simply step through life in humility and obedience. We are, to put it bluntly, cowards.
His Word is clear about the things we are to do. All of them are only possible in His strength, but the callings themselves are not hard to understand. We are to Love those who need to be Loved. We are to abide in a profound concern for the wellbeing of another, without regard as to whether the people we Love return the same.
However, this is where the problem comes in. Sometimes, the things we are to do to actually Love others, or to share His good news – are not going to make other people happy with us. In fact, many might think we are a bit crazy in our attempts.
So, sometimes through prayer and letting His Word minister to us, we become convinced of a certain course of action, or words that He would have us share. We ache, “Oh Father, please. This one is hard. People are not going to understand me.”
His answer, though, is unbending. For, He is G_d and we are not.
Hopefully (and now, thankfully, usually for this fool of a writer), we have learned to simply obey and let the consequences fall where they may. We have become His warriors and we joyfully follow the orders of our Captain. Dying is of no concern, for our old man is already dead. The only thing before us is a peaceful falling asleep.
Still… we feel the nerves. We feel the impulses to be afraid as we obey. However, if we ignore the lies of the fear, and simply follow His lead, there usually comes the privilege of witnessing fruit in places that we would have never expected.
People are touched
Relationships are made
Friends get set free
Colleagues are encouraged
Students grow in ways we never imagined.
Can we see it? Fear of doing the right thing is a pretty solid indicator that what we are about to do is pretty important in the Kingdom. If it feels ‘easy’ we might not be going on the adventure He would have us to pursue.
So, are you just knowing that there is someone you are supposed to go and Love a certain way? Ignore the lies (and that old Liar). Let Him push you through the fear. Then, let Him show you the unexpected fruit on the other side. Tonight is your night beloved, time to go where He sends you.
Written by Makala Doulos, Colony of Mercy Graduate and teacher at Tianjin International School
Think About This: If I were fruitless, it mattered not who commended me; but if I were fruitful, I cared not who did condemn. ~John Bunyan (1628-1688)
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. ~Proverbs 29:25