My Assignments In Light Of Others [Podcast #01]

In the first I Am Jonah podcast I explore dealing with ‘my assignments‘ in light of others. The truth is, every now and then, we will take note of others’ work. Being involved with the sacred mission doesn’t cure us (or at least me) from having to deal with my humanity.

Looking at how others are fairing with their assignments compared to myself can result in pride or condemnation. Not only that, it detracts from what I should be focusing on.

Being involved with what God is doing with and through my life is only a part of the puzzle. It is only when I do well my part, and others the same, that a more complete image forms.

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God’s Work Among People

It is no doubt that God works in the lives of people. Myself included, I’ve seen his transformative power in the lives of countless people.

He works supernaturally. Some people confuse supernatural for spectacular. The supernatural is not always spectacular. ‘God’s work’ in people’s lives may not always be spectacular but it doesn’t mean it isn’t supernatural.

How He works transcends our complete understanding. We see the evidence of His work but we don’t fully understand how He brings it about. He is God. He would never be God if we had Him completely figured out.

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Talking About Nuthin’

I’m a fan of Lecrae’s music. He has a new album, Anomaly, dropping soon. “Nuthin” is one of the songs on the album but has been released as a single. He’s done what no Christ following artist has done in terms of speaking to both the world and Christ follower. By the world in Lecrae’s context, I mean hip hop culture (I’m not saying he only speaks into hip hop culture either).

As a Christ follower one of the things I wrestle with is being overt with my faith in a way that people in the world at large don’t shut down or check out. There are more reasons than I can count why culture, that is the world, in a general sense, doesn’t want to hear anything from followers of Christ. We, as Christ followers, are partly to blame. (That’s for another post…)

I grapple with “earning a voice”, a right to be heard, with the world and at the same time not selling out when it comes to representing Jesus, the Christ. I want to tell the world and at the same time I don’t want to sell out.

In the song “Nuthin” Lecrae speaks about how hip hop culture is talking about nothing. He belittles the things that are celebrated and bragged about in favour of speaking about encouraging people and Jesus. Lecrae has been rapping for at least ten years. He has, in a sense, earned a right (or cred) to speak into the culture the way he does.

He’s been exposed to the hip hop culture and understands it. He speaks the language. His message is the differentiator. Together with Lecrae and all Christ followers I have the unique differentiator: the message of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 [NIV] )

In speaking the message of Christ to the world I wrestle. How do I earn the “right” (or cred) to be listened to without selling out to the message and Christ Himself. I know it is the Holy Spirit who convicts and not me or how I deliver the message. However, how do I know I have done all I can?

I strive to please Christ and I know it is not by my works I’m saved. But I also know that others are saved, in a sense, by my work. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to be able to speak into the culture and be given a fair chance (whatever that is) to be heard. We have this treasure in earthen vessels… (2 Corinthians 4:7)

We are ignored, even though we are well known… 2 Corinthians 6:9 (NLT)

Paul says that he, and his colleagues and the message of Christ they preached were ignored despite being well known! It seems Paul’s fame didn’t guarantee a “a fair chance to be heard”. Yet he was one of the most effective preachers and church planters, ever!

Fame is not the goal. Attention on myself isn’t either. I just want to make sure the message of Christ is heard the best way I can. The world is talking about a lot. And I agree with Lecrae; they’re talking about nothing. In representing Christ I want to be effective…

In saying something about Christ and the privilege of following Him I also want to make sure I’m not one of those people who talk about nothing.

Jesus, help me to represent you and represent you well. May I not talk about nothing so many will follow you. Amen.

My Convenience And ‘Their’ Commitment

I’m looking into the book of Acts as part of my theology studies. I’ve never seen things in it the way I have the last few weeks. It is amazing what God can do with people fully yielded to Him.

It is amazing what happens when the Spirit of God is allowed full reign in the lives of the disciples in the early Church. Peter boldly speaks and 3,000 people repent and are baptised (Acts 2:14-41).

Peter and John challenge the authorities with no fear (Acts 4:1-31). They speak God’s message with boldness. Philip follows the leading of the Holy and baptises the first gentile and he is translated to another location (Acts 8:26-40).

The dead are brought to life; people are set free from oppressing spirits… There are many things God did through ordinary people, empowered by His Spirit.

I’m excited; challenged and freaking out as I read the amazing accounts of the early Church.

My Convenience And Their Commitment

I pray God would use me like how He did with some of the followers of the Way in those early days. Then I cower. Do I really have the commitment of the early Church? Would I be willing to drink death’s cup through stoning, like Stephen?

Can I get up from a beating and proceed to preach in the next town like Paul? Can I really stand before dignitaries and tell them to go jump off a cliff because my commitment is to God’s cause like Peter and John did?

I am privileged to be in a nation where I don’t get persecuted for my faith. As I think further, many Christ followers around the world live with persecution as it was for the early Church.

The questions I ask myself have to do with what I am willing to do for God. Perhaps I have it twisted. Perhaps the question I should be asking is, “how yielded to God am I?”

What is the extent of my surrender to God and His purposes for all people? Am I surrendered to God to such an extent where nothing is an inconvenience to me?

My convenience and comfort sometimes seem to have more of my allegiance than the purposes of God… May I be so given to Him, His glory and purposes…

God, as I pray, would you give me courage to pray. Give me courage to live a life fully surrendered to you. Because how I’m spent will not matter when I am that, surrendered… No greater prayer could I ever pray… Amen.

[Photo Credit: Dietmar Becker on Unplash]

Demeaning Assignments God Gives Me

I’ve met many people with crazy, insane stories about how they encountered God. I’ve also heard many stories about how people have seen visions and got “a word from God” in some fireworks-spectacular-way. I get jealous, sometimes. Why can’t God speak to me like He did or does with others?

Something else that also kinda messes me up is how God seems to let others do cooler stuff than me. I’m not saying He shouldn’t have given some assignments to other people. I just wish He’d spread out some of those assignments to me too.

It’s almost as if other Christ followers get ice cream and I get peas and oats. Bleh. After all I want to do it for His glory. Well, honestly sometimes my motives are messed up. (There are times where I try to steal God’s shine.)

Demeaning Assignments God Gives Me

When I read Jonah 1:1 it says, God’s word came to Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh. There isn’t much detail on how it came. It seems somehow God was more concerned about His word getting to Jonah than He was about furore in its delivery.

Maybe it was dramatic. Fireworks, trumpets and all. Or may be it was when Jonah was having his first cup of coffee of the day while reading scrolls God penned through Moses. Or he was fishing, trying to catch his supper. (I just had to throw that one in. Jonah and fish, you know… Hehe…)

I’m sometimes responsible for demeaning assignments God gives me. I sometimes get caught up in that they did not “come to me” in any spectacular way.

I sometimes forget that the supernatural is not always spectacular [Click to Tweet]

I undermine the assignments God gives me when I’m more concerned about how they come than Who they come from. I undermine God’s assignments when I want to be the rock star. I seek ‘rock star status’ when I want to put myself and not the ultimate object, God’s glory at the center.

I forget that the worth of God’s assignment is in Who they come from and what they ought to accomplish [Click to Tweet]

It is not how God’s word comes when He gives me assignments, but that He does. What is important is that I’m an agent of His love to the world and not the magnet of spotlights.

God, help me keep everything in perspective… I’m sorry for messing with lives you wanted me to touch by being caught up in how I wanted attention. Forgive me. I Am Jonah. Amen.

[Photo Credit: See Modern Britain]