Good Enough for God’s Work
God Lifts Up the Lowly
Not one of us are worthy of the gifts God has given us, but nonetheless they have been given. And who are we to reject them? It’s interesting how often we Christians feel we aren’t good enough, or holy enough, or spiritual enough, or perfect enough to do what God has called us to do. His commandments don’t come with qualifying statements. He doesn’t say “Honor your father and mother… unless they are bad parents.” He doesn’t say “Keep holy the sabbath day… except when it’s Super Bowl Sunday!” He knows that these aren’t always easy things for us to do. That’s the beauty of it. As our father he challenges us, not to watch us struggle, but so that we can grow and “boast of our afflictions” like St. Paul said (Rm 5).
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”
Throughout sacred scripture we see examples of God choosing normal people to do great things. When God called on Moses to free Israel from Egypt he said “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? (Ex 3:7)” Look at the story of David (1 Sm 16). When Samuel is sent to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the new king of Israel, he assumes God has chosen one of the older, stronger ones. But to his surprise—and that of Jesse as well—God has chosen the smallest of Jesse’s sons to be king. And my favorite of God’s selections is when Jesus calls the twelve apostles, especially St. Peter. Until Pentecost Peter makes every mistake possible, but when the Holy Spirit gets ahold of Him amazing things start to happen!
“I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.”
This is good news for all of us. God doesn’t choose the biggest and greatest, he wants the weak and lowly. He wants me and you to do His work. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Put Your Beliefs to the Test
As Christians we believe that God exists, but so what? “Even the demons believe that and tremble. (Ja 2:19)” Our belief in the existence of God is just the beginning. We must know and love God personally, intimately. However, we must not only perceive His presence in the world, we must also be His presence in the world. For our faith is not worth anything to us if it doesn’t challenge us to conversion and call us to action.
“Just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
The saints that have gone before us are not saints because they believed in God. They are saints because through their belief in God they brought Jesus to life by their words and actions. If we look at people like St. Therese of Liseux, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed John Paul II we see that these ordinary people lived extraordinary lives of faith. Their simplicity, humility, selflessness, and service all stemmed from the depths of their relationship with God in prayer.
“I say this because I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without the intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavors would achieve very little.”
Our faith is important and our relationship with God is essential, because if we are not receiving the grace and love of God ourselves we are unable to go out and share it with the world.
Getting Our Priorities Straight
It’s all about priorities. We’ve got to order our lives correctly. Like we just explored, faith comes first, then love of God, now it’s time to do God’s work. There will be times—perhaps many times—when we don’t feel God’s love and feel like our faith is lacking, but that shouldn’t stop us from serving God and our neighbor. If you are married, there are days when you don’t feel head over heels for your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you give up on them and get a divorce. You continue to love them. Some of the greatest saints, like Mother Teresa and St. Francis spent the later stages of their lives in what felt to them like desolation, unable to perceive the presence and love of God. Yet, neither of them stopped doing what they were called to do.
“Seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”
That sounds like promise to me. God is always there, even when we can’t perceive Him. His love is always there, even when we don’t think we deserve it. He never gives up on us and we cannot abandon our duties as Christians or feel like we aren’t good enough to talk about Jesus with others just because we haven’t reached the same level of holiness as Him. We are humans. We are imperfect. But, we are also made in the “image and likeness (Gn 1:26)” of God. Our pursuit of holiness is a life-long journey, fraught with ups and downs, highs and lows, but the times in which we feel furthest from God and the most unworthy of His love are the times when we should most strive to do His will. It’s usually in “these least brothers of mine (Mt 25:40)” that we find He whom we seek.Related Topics: