What if You Never Do Anything Great for God?

Are you still waiting for that great thing you’ll be called to do for God?
Do you wrestle with a vague sense that somehow you’re a disappointment to Him because “all you do” is
raise children
work to support your family
teach kindergarten
make it through the day struggling with illness
take care of your own family
do your job
serve on the church finance committee
live alone and take care of yourself and a few neighbors
care for your elderly parents
You love God, you pray, read your Bible, try to be obedient, love other people
but you feel that you’re nothing special
especially in this day of celebrity Christians
or people who sell their homes and move to Haiti
or who crusade against human trafficking
or adopt several special needs children.
You don’t do any of those things.
It’s not that you wouldn’t,
you’ve tried to be open to hearing God
and you’re serious about following Him
(although you’re kind of quiet and others don’t always see your passion for Him because, well, you’ve never been one to make a big show of your feelings)
and you’re faithful,
but there’s never been that “great” thing that the speakers you heard in college or on TV said you should be ready to do.
And that’s okay
but it leaves you feeling a little worried
that God loves you,
but He’s not as excited about you, maybe, as He is about His other children,
like He loves you but
you haven’t really lived up to your potential
and you look forward to Heaven but imagine you’ll just slip in quietly
without a lot of fanfare
and watch while the angels host parades for His children
who did something special.
I think those are lies from the evil one, perpetrated by our twisted modern sensibilities about what is a “great thing” and what pleases God.
I think that because Paul advised the Thessalonians this way:
“Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.  And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,  so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
We don’t hear many sermons or conference speeches inspiring us to “lead a quiet life and mind our own business” but maybe we should.
Look at the first part of that verse – “love one another.”
This, loved ones, is what will be celebrated on the other side.
Not our greatness
Not our bestselling books
or full auditoriums
or awesome missions trips
or ginormous churches.
What will be sung about and rewarded in heaven will be our love.
Are you quiet and busy about the business of your life? Good. But that’s not the issue – the issue is DO YOU LOVE GOD AND OTHERS?
Are you busy about a great and life-changing calling? Good. But that’s not the issue – the issue is DO YOU LOVE GOD AND OTHERS?
We’ve heard about love so often it begins to fade into the background like white noise
but it’s what headlines in Heaven, baby.
Greatness has a different measure on the other side and the scales are set for love.
Satan loves to distract us by throwing out false measures
and, too often, we join him and thereby judge and discourage one another
from the true calling laid on us all
“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28
Do this and you will live!
Living isn’t jumping out of planes, or urban ministry to the homeless or attending a different church event every night of the week (although, those CAN be living if they’re done in LOVE).
God says that we will LIVE if we love.
Do you love God and do you love the people around you? This is the call on us all. This is the question with which to wrestle.
Leave greatness aside and spend the week asking God if you’ve met THIS calling in your life and watch the evil one shut up and run for the hills trembling in his boots.
The forces of the Kingdom of God move forward in love on every front. Are you with us?

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    The Conversation

  1. What a great post, Lori! We all need to be reminded that love for God and for others is the measure of one who follows God’s heart. I moved a year ago and I’ve been praying, asking God, “What is my purpose here?” You’ve reassured me that my purpose here is to love Him and to love others around me. Thank you!

  2. Can we do it? Yes, we can.
    Thanks for yet another call to action, the loving and quiet kind.

  3. Pam Manners says:

    Hands down, one of my most favorite posts of yours, Lori. So very meaningful to me, I can’t even begin to explain. God uses you so often to speak to me. All I can say is thank you!

  4. LOVE this more than you can know Lori!! Wonderful message!

  5. Great post, Lori. I just started work on one about Celebrity Christians – I may ending up linking to this one when I complete it. God has a job for each of us to do. What’s important is that we do it!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Whenever I doubt I’m doing enough, I remember Jesus’ words to Martha as she complained about Mary doing so little. He told Martha Mary had chosen the “better part.” That part was listening to Jesus so she would know how to live. Thank you always. MOMMA

  7. Rita Smith says:

    Love your neighbor as yourself is a great thought, and one that is easily glossed over. But what if your neighbor is doing things that are illegal and by attempting to be kind to them you are enabling their criminal activity? Love is patient. Are we supposed to be patient with someone who is using and abusing us? How do we show the love of God to someone who has completely shut the door to the gospel message, but still wants us to show them the love of Christ in our actions? What does love look like when we are talking to someone who worships angels or trees or something other than the one true God? I have seen love transform hearts, but I have also seen love trampled and abused. It is simple to say to love your neighbor as yourself, but sometimes it is very, very hard to know how to show someone the true love of God.
    You are right when I wonder if anything I am doing is worth anything at all. If love doesn’t transform lives then maybe I am not doing it right? I feel like a complete and total failure, even though I know that salvation is a gift of God and not something that I have somehow earned with all my great deeds. I feel rejected and hurt and discouraged and alone. While I also know that we can’t depend on our feelings, we have to rely on the Word of God as the only source of truth, it is hard to get up in the morning and keep going when I don’t see any positive outcome from my life. I guess we all want our lives to matter.

    • We do all want our lives to matter and the truth is that they do, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Love your neighbor as yourself isn’t a great thought, it’s a command. The life we’re called to live is one of truth and love. I’m so sorry you’re feeling this low, Rita. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt by others. It is often hard to know how to love in this world. We need God every minute. Praying for God to send you the encouragement you need in this moment.