Over the last year or so, we have been presented in various ways with the question, “Is it a God thing, or simply a good thing?” Something can be a good thing, and certainly well worth doing, and would be a blessing to someone, and possibly even something that is good for the Kingdom without being a “God thing”. What I mean by a “God thing” is something that is in the proper season and timing because it is clear that God is leading and directing it.
I think we all struggle, at least from time to time, with decisions about what we are to do, whether it is a decision regarding a ministry or our individual service for the Lord. We may have several great opportunities facing us, and are trying to decide which one or ones to participate in or to initiate or develop further. They all are things that, at least on the surface, look like something God would want us to do. They may, in fact, all truly be something God would want done, but is it what He wants me/us to be doing, and is it His timing for me/us to be involved at this time? This is a hard place to be, and I will be the first to say I don’t have any hard answers. I wish I did!
We each have limited time and resources. What those limits are for you are different than they are for me or anyone else, but whatever those limits are, we have them. Steve and I have often struggled with not spreading ourselves too thin. So many things tug at us and they all seem good, and often are. However, we have to make choices about which and how much we get involved. You probably face the same situation, at least now and then.
However good something may be, we are not called to do everything. Each one of us has specific gifts and callings that God has placed within us, and they may even change, from time to time (at least in some respects). Everything has its proper time and season, and now may or may not be the season to be involved in that particular effort or ministry. This is our constant challenge.
There are always needs all around us, if we have eyes to see. Even Jesus said that “The poor will always be with you.” But, at the same time, He also emphasized that we have to make the better choice, and attend to Him and what He is saying. Martha was busy and worried about all the tasks that needed to be done, but Jesus encouraged Mary for making the “better choice” to sit at His feet and listen and abide in His presence. It is better to seek to discern what it is that the Lord is truly guiding you/us to do now, in this season, than it is to jump into everything we feel drawn to. It is far less productive to be distracted and pulled multiple directions and spreading our limited resources among too many efforts than it is to focus our efforts in one or two areas.
These choices are hard, when everything in front of you is good work, and perhaps even plays to the giftings you know God has given you. However, the idea was recently presented – and my Spirit affirmed – that it can even be a sin to do something, no matter how good, if it is NOT what God is calling and leading you to do at that time. If it is not directed by the Holy Spirit within, even the most exalted of tasks/purposes, done out of season, are going to be undertaken in our fleshly strength, not the power of the Holy Spirit, and thus sinful!
Father, help us to discern when it is You that are pulling us to a particular task or ministry and not simply our own desire to be doing good, or our sympathy being played on by the enemy to distract us from Your purposes. You have specific plans for each of us. When we seek to “perform” good works, outside those purposes, we can only draw on our fleshly strength, which will be inadequate for the task, much of the time. Even if we have the strength, without Your Spirit empowering the work, it will not be as successful as it could be, no matter how good it is. Help us to stay firmly attuned to You so that we KNOW when it is YOU that is drawing us to a task and not our own human compassion or any other motivation. Thank You, Lord. We ask this in the name of Your precious Son, Jesus. Amen.