I Corinthians 12: 4-20
Each of us is familiar with the “great commission” found at the end of Matthew, go forth and make disciples all of the nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. But each of us, as the reading from I Corinthians highlights, has different gifts and as a result, each of us will have a different commission.
It is likely, through the course of our life, we will have several different commissions. I am not talking about day to day to decisions like do I marry her or not? Do I get divorced or stay married? Do I go to Mission Mexico or stay home and go to my kid’s baseball game? I am talking about “your” commission. God has a plan for each of us and we are called to fulfill that plan. This is how we “follow” Christ.
Each of us goes to church, we pray, we even read scripture and, attend things like the Men’s Ministry Group or the Woman’s Prayer Group on Saturday mornings. These are wonderful things but they are simply there to prepare us for our commission. Phil Van Horn 2 years ago was called to start the Men’s Ministry. God called and he answered and, found his commission. Jim Sedgwick was driving home one day from work and had the idea to start Mission Mexico and call men together once a year to build homes for those people in El Nino, Mexico. Again, this is one of Jim’s many commissions.
God has put you here for a purpose. And while going to church every Sunday and praying and reading scripture is a great foundation, that is not your commission. Have you reflected on your commission? Have you thought about what God’s plan is for you? If not, I invite you during this Lenten season to pray about how God might use you and your special talents and skills to make the kingdom present here on earth just as it is in heaven.
For those of us who have found our commission we often times find ourselves in a rut or simply very comfortable because we have done the same thing for a long time and it is rewarding but, mainly easy. There is no stretch. We need to be looking to see if God is calling us in some other direction to perform yet a new commission that will cause us to grow and that would further serve His purposes.
How do we come to understand God’s commission for us? Of course, there are many answers but, here are some helpful pointers:
Does what I’m doing (or planning to do) conflict with Scripture?
God’s will never will. God is always true to Himself and His Word is the best place to start. We may differ in interpretation of a passage, but if it’s clearly spelled out in Scripture, then we clearly know His will.
Does what I am doing conflict with the counsel of others?
God uses others to confirm His will. I am thankful for the people in my life, including my wife and sons, who have helped shaped the path of my life. Often they see things I can see or believe in me when I can’t believe in myself. God sends the body of Christ to encourage, challenge and strengthen the body.
Does what I am doing conflict with the spirit within me?
God sent the Holy Spirit as a helper. He guides us with an inner peace or a holy unrest. If Christ is in you, He will not leave you to make a decision completely alone. Often God provides a peace or a lack thereof when He is trying to confirm His will. You need to have the peace of God. I have learned to listen to the peace of God. If you are not a Christian, then you don’t know what I am talking about. But if you are, then I think you do. There is the peace of God that helps to confirm whether you are in the will of God.
Does what I am doing conflict with my life experience?
God uses our experiences in life to teach and mold us to His will. Often it isn’t as unusual of a path when we look back over our life experiences. Again, don’t be confused, because He usually stretches us out of our comfort zone also.
Does what I am doing conflict with my passion for life?
God tends to work with the things that fuel our fire. He loves when we are energized for the tasks He calls us to. When I look at Bible characters like Joseph, David, the disciples, Abraham or Paul it appears their calling matched their wiring. Paul was zealous for whatever he did. God used that passion for good. What’s your passion? God may work within it to confirm His will.
I fully believe God works all things for good even when we miss His will in individual decisions or even decisions made by a community of believers. You can make a bad decision, but God retains the right to finish your story His way. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”