Summary: Every believer is called to reap the harvest by using spiritual gifts God has given.
What a privilege and honor to be called and used by God to do His will. Our calling is not to put our focus on this earth, nor is it to make the world a better place. Our calling is to follow Jesus Christ on a pilgrimage to heaven. In doing so, we will also fulfill God’s purpose for our life along the journey. If the church fulfills this role, our communities and world will benefit greatly and will be a better place, but our focus is always ahead where God is leading. The greatest challenge is walking by faith and laying our life down for the purpose of the cross. This is also the most rewarding part of the Christian life. No one can be satisfied without laying down their life and walking in obedience. The one who trusts God and willingly sacrifices whatever it takes will always be satisfied even if they even if they lack in this world. Only when our hope and desire is eternal can we cling to the promise and command of Luke 9:
23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
From the outside, the Christian life is always foolish. Only a fool would lose his life for the promise that God will one day restore it beyond what we can imagine. Only the person who has the desire to come after Jesus Christ will be able to deny themselves and take up that cross. It is not a one-time commitment, but a lifestyle of surrendering all. God is our reward. The world is dependent on things and circumstances, but the one who follows God will have peace and fulfillment regardless of what life throws. One day we will all look back down the road we have traveled. Those who have walked with God will be glad. I have said this before and I believe it is crucial to understand this – God does not call us to succeed, achieve or accomplish anything. God calls us to walk by faith so that we live in obedience. Faith, obedience and faithfulness belongs to me, the results of my labors belong solely to God.
One thing we can be sure of is that if we are following God’s will, we will succeed. The problem with achievement driven work is that I measure success on my terms instead of on God’s terms. We don’t know God’s plan. Sometimes we can’t see what God is doing with our labors but we can always be sure that God will fulfill His plan in our life if we are faithful. Christians get discouraged because they are looking for God to fulfill their plans. Success, labor and strength are designed to be a part of every Christian’s life that follows Christ. We are not guaranteed an easy ride – in fact, it is just the opposite. We are guaranteed that God has a plan for our life and will use us to accomplish His will and we will be rewarded for our faithfulness and labor.
Our success comes from abiding in Him.
Everything centers around our relationship with God. Look at John 15
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
A vibrant, abiding relationship with Christ is the lifeblood of the Christian life. No one can neglect their relationship with God and fulfill God’s will in their life. We were created to have an intimate relationship with God and to glorify Him. Nothing else matters. Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. It is through our relationship with God that He shapes our heart and kindles our desire to do His will. Once our desires are from God and not centered around ourselves, God can then bless our desires because we are standing in the promise. If we don’t have a desire to do ministry, the problem is in our relationship with Christ. You cannot grow close to God and grow in faith without gaining the desire to serve God. We don’t labor to please God; we labor because we desire what God desires because we are conforming to His image.