by Max Lucado
“God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.“ Philippians 2:13 (NCV)
What God said about Jeremiah, he said about you: â€œBefore I made you in your motherâ€™s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special workâ€? Jeremiah 1:5 (NCV).
Set apart for a special work.
God shaped you according to yours. How else can you explain yourself? Your ability to diagnose an engine problem by the noise it makes, to bake a cake without a recipe. You knew the Civil War better than your American history teacher. You know the name of every child in the orphanage. How do you explain such quirks of skill?
God. He knew young Israel would need a code, so he gave Moses a love for the law. He knew the doctrine of grace would need a fiery advocate, so he set Paul ablaze. And in your case, he knew what your generation would need and gave it. He designed you. And his design defines your destiny. Remember Peterâ€™s admonition? â€œIf anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God suppliesâ€? 1 Peter 4:11.
I encountered walking proof of this truth on a trip to Central America. Dave, a fellow American, was celebrating his sixty-first birthday with friends at the language school where my daughter was studying Spanish. My questionâ€”â€œWhat brings you here?â€?â€” opened a biographical floodgate. Drugs, sex, divorce, jailâ€”Daveâ€™s first four decades read like a gangsterâ€™s diary. But then God called him. Just as God called Moses, Paul, and millions, God called Dave.
His explanation went something like this. â€œIâ€™ve always been able to fix things. All my life when stuff broke, people called me. A friend told me about poor children in Central America, so I came up with an idea. I find homes with no fathers and no plumbing. I install sinks and toilets and love kids. Thatâ€™s what I do. Thatâ€™s what I was made to do.â€?
Sounds like Dave has found the cure for the common life. Heâ€™s living in his sweet spot. What about you? What have you always done well? And what have you always loved to do?
That last question trips up a lot of well-meaning folks. God wouldnâ€™t let me do what I like to doâ€”would he? According to Paul, he would. â€œGod is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases himâ€? Philippians 2:13 (NCV). Your Designer couples the â€œwant toâ€? with the â€œbe able to.â€? Desire shares the driverâ€™s seat with ability. â€œDelight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heartâ€? Psalm 37:4 (NIV). Your Father is too gracious to assign you to a life of misery. As Thomas Aquinas wrote, â€œHuman life would seem to consist in that in which each man most delights, that for which he especially strives, and that which he particularly wishes to share with his friends.â€?
So go ahead; reflect on your life. What have you always done well and loved to do?
Some find such a question too simple. Donâ€™t we need to measure something? Aptitude or temperament? We consult teachers and tea leaves, read manuals and horoscopes. We inventory spiritual gifts and ancestors. While some of these strategies might aid us, a simpler answer lies before us. Or, better stated, lies within us.
The oak indwells the acorn. Read your life backward and check your supplies. Rerelish your moments of success and satisfaction. For in the merger of the two, you find your uniqueness.
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From Cure for the Common Life
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2006)
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