Doing What You Can Do
February 1, 2018
This past weekend, we asked people to be willing to do what they can do and trust God to do what only He can do. We prayed a courageous prayer: “Lord, please invite me out of my comfort zone.” That prayer should probably come with a large warning label. CAUTION: THIS PRAYER COULD LEAD TO RISKY AND POTENTIALLY LIFE-ALTERING COMPLICATIONS. But only when we allow ourselves to be in those situations and environments where Jesus invites us to go beyond ourselves and our limitations, will we experience something that He does first, in us and then, through us.
Nearly 100 people took a step toward personal ministry this past weekend at our Serving Expo. That is exciting and encouraging—and not just for our various ministries that serve so many people—but for those 100 people who are about to experience one of the great faith-building catalysts of all: stepping up and stepping out to serve. I trust that those potential volunteers to all areas of our ministries that were represented, will become actual servants and leaders who partner with God as He teaches them to trust Him at a deeper level, and who get a front-row seat to seeing His glory revealed.
I remember the first time I was invited to do what I can, and trust God to do what I can’t. It was between the summer of my high school graduation and my first year at Bible College. I had already said yes to what I believe was God’s call into ministry as my life’s work. I was all of 17 years old. I was clueless and care-free, and just waiting to see what God might have in store.
My pastor, Bruce Heller, came to me and said, “I have an assignment for you this summer.” I figured when I said yes to the ministry that meant I said yes to whatever my minister asked of me. So, I agreed.
It turned out, the assignment was for me to teach a Sunday School class of senior adults where the average age was 70. I repeat: I was 17. Quite the age/experience gap don’t you think? Some of these people had Bibles older than me. But since Bruce believed in me, and God had already called me, I enthusiastically, albeit naively, jumped in.
You’ve heard the expression that the teacher learns way more than the student? Never have truer words been spoken. I’m not sure what those seasoned saints learned from me that summer, but they all smiled and supportively nodded their heads at a “in-way-over-my-head” teenager’s attempts to sound like he knew what he was talking about.
As I look back, I understand that both God and Bruce knew exactly what they were doing. Bruce knew I needed a challenge that would take me out of my comfort zone and force me to prepare for those who knew I didn’t know what I was doing but graciously let me figure that out on my own. And God knew I needed that experience because He was preparing me for my first pastoring assignment that would emerge just a couple of months later. That little church of 25 adults was mostly filled and run by people in their 60s and 70s. My summer stint with the Sunday School Seniors was just what I needed to give me a modicum of confidence that I could relate to them and lead them. And I was still only 17.
“Just bring me what you have.” Those are the fabulous words that Jesus says to his original disciples and to his ongoing disciples. Whether we’re 17 or 70, it doesn’t matter. When we bring Jesus what we have, He will take it, bless it, and multiply it for His glory and our growth.
You just do what you know how to do, and then trust Your Heavenly Father to do what only He can do.
This weekend, we will look at another impacting and essential growth factor: providential relationships. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say, “I discovered God and grew into a fully-devoted follower of Jesus all by myself in isolation.” The power of relationships, both to help and to harm, is one of the most life-shaping influences on whether and how our faith grows.
Here are two key scriptures to set our minds on this important principle:
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)