I recently was part of a conversation that revolved around the idea of serving God when we don’t want to or don’t like the task. After we put away our self righteous notions that we always do everything from right motives, we began to discuss serving God in the times it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient. As we reflected on scripture, it became clear that most of the people in the Bible crossed this bridge eventually. We looked over examples of people that did not like the task or situation presented to them but obeyed anyway. We sighted Moses, Jonah, Job, and even Jesus in the garden.
God cares about obedience, but there was a layer deeper than that to explore. When things have been bad and bad for a long time, why do we keep obeying? Is there a difference between obeying God because we feel we have to and obeying God because we trust Him? My mind went to Jonah. Not only did he not want to obey God, but when he very reluctantly did obey, he was upset with the results that God said would come to pass. This is not only a heart that was reluctant to do a task, but a heart that was resistant to the purposes of God.
I was also reminded of Hebrews 11:36-40.
Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
These were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us that only together with us would they be made perfect.
I am tremendously encouraged that in Christ I am a part of something so much bigger than myself. When I feel forgotten, alone or discouraged, I can be reminded and encouraged by all those that have gone before me and trusted God through very dark times. Ultimately, because Christ lives, so will I.
From this conversation, I left being reminded that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrewes 11:1). Even in the times we do not like the task or circumstances that God has put before us, we can trust that we are a part of God’s purposes. We may not know why or how yet, but as we obey, God will weave it all together. I want to be more like Christ and less like Jonah.
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before him endured the cross
, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not lose heart. –Hebrews 12:1-3
Director, Men’s Division