Instead of asking God “What do you want me to do?” ask, “What do you want us to do?”
That was an epiphany, if you will, that I had this morning when talking with an intern and resident graduate of Helping Up Mission. Helping Up Mission is a Christian ministry that has served the city of Baltimore, MD since 1885. It’s mission is to help the poor and homeless by providing in resident addiction recovery, counseling, and life skills education. One of my elders at the Columbia Church of Christ, who volunteers as a tudor, took me with him today so that I could learn about this great ministry.
As I was listening to the story of one of the ministry graduates, a man who is now on his fourteenth month of sobriety after losing everything he had (his marriage, his business, his reputation) save his physical life, the above was an epiphany I had.
Here I was listening to a man who had hit the bottom. He was contemplating suicide…as he said that he wasn’t afraid of dying, he was afraid of living. That’s when he was taken to Helping Up Mission. Here is where he found the grace of God (yes, he is a believer now). As he was speaking to me today, he spoke of how impossible it is for him to do anything but how possible it is for him to live a functional life in sobriety by the grace of God.
That’s when it occurred to me… We Christians want to do the will of God and not just in the grandiose ministry activities but also in the small, seemingly mundane, things as well. Given our nature as people created in the image of God, we can do a lot that is good but if we’re not careful, we can fool ourselves into going about it without God. We might do this and still do what we do very well. But should we?
It seems that doing life without the recognition that all of life is lived by the grace of God, allows us to be come self-dependent rather than God-dependent. If we’re not careful, that can easily turn into the unintentional making of an idol out of ourselves.
What I’m saying is not something that I’ve not known before. It is, however, something that is easy to lose sight of. So today I was reminded that rather than asking God what he wants me to do, I should be asking God what he wants us to do together. Perhaps that is why Jesus gave us the strong admonition, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15.5).
So…go with God!