Wednesday, May 9

What are we doing here?

Like many of God's servants over past centuries and in the present, I periodically find myself questioning our call for being here. I always remember what Jack Gray (one of my SWBTS seminary profs) told us in class, "Never doubt in the darkness what God has revealed to you in the light." But once again, we find ourselves wondering what on earth we are doing here?

In my daily devotionals I am currently reading through Kings in the OT. Yesterday's reading of Chapter 19 is priceless. Here God beats Elijah to the punch by asking the weary prophet,

"What are you doing here, Elijah?" (19:13)

It may as well have read, "What are you doing here, Guy?"

Elijah (and myself) then inform God something he obviously doesn't know,

"I have been very zealous for the Lord..."

Elijah's words express my own feelings so well. We have sought with all our hearts to faithfully serve the God we love. But what has it all accomplished? Elijah continues informing the Lord of all that it has cost him personally...

"...the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets..."

Serving God can be a discouraging task. A lot of work for very little fruit--or at least that is what it seems. Has it all been in vain? What do we have to show for all our zealousness over the years? Not much.

Then Elijah really opens his heart and declares...

"I alone am left..."

Everybody else has gone their way, abandoned the cause, except for me. I alone have been faithful in the task and to God's calling on our lives. If it weren't for faithful me holding down the fort, everything would have crumbled by now. And now, on top of everything else,

"...they seek my life, to take it away..."

My life that I have devoted to You, Lord, THEY want to take it all away. THEY don't understand. THEY want to destroy everything we're trying to do for you Lord...

What was God's response to Elijah? How did He "comfort" his servant?

God dismisses Elijah's moanings and groanings. He didn't respond directly to anything Elijah had opened up his heart over. Not even a little word of encouragement like, "Hey, Elijah, don't be so down on yourself, you've been doing a great job...hang in there."

Instead, God tells him two things:

1-I've got 7000 others who haven't yet bowed down to Baal.
2-I am sending you on an anointing mission.

An annointing mission? Yes. God instructs Elijah to go annoint Hazel king of Syria. Then to annoint Jehu king over Israel. And finally annoint Elisha as prophet in his place. That ends the "heart to heart" talk between Elijah and God.

So, back to "what am I doing here?" If I understand the passage correctly, God is letting me know...

1) I am NOT the only faithful servant doing things God's way here in Guayaquil. Its time to get over being upset that "my plans" and "my ministry" aren't the rave of the city. There are plenty of other faithful servants doing exactly what God wants them to be doing. It's about His Kingdom, not my kingdom.

2) Get out there and begin a new phase of mission, an "annointing ministry." Believe it or not, this is not as far fetched as it might sound. Annointing others is key to the coming of Christ's Kingdom. We multiply ourselves by "annointing"--EMPOWERING--others to do those things we alone can never accomplish by ourselves. The more annointed-empowered ones there are out in the harvest fields, the more fruit we will see to the glory of God.

The truth is most of us would rather see ourselves as one of the "star prophets" in Israel. The one everyone calls upon. The one who gets interviewed on Christian TV and invited to speak at the conferences. It is only natural to want to be one of the "annointed ones" that God uses. But who are the few willing to be the ANNOINTING VESSEL that gets poured out so OTHERS can be used mightily of God?

If I am understanding God right, the correct response to His question, "What are you doing here, Guy?" is for me to get over my "ppp" (personal pity party) and get out there and begin a new ministry phase of annointing people. Right now.

14 comments:

antonio said...

Guy, that touches home in several ways. I wish I could discuss but it involves more than me. I think we all can use that constante reminder that it is not about us but about Him. Nothing is ever perfect and when we dwell on the imperfections we do nothing but get stuck on those "ppp".

Dios te bendiga.

negrito said...

Hi Guy,
Was having my own PPP yesterday: exhausted, had a hard day in all spheres and wanted to just forget the world and chase cars around my head (Snow Patrol song - ask J). So thanks for the reminder of why I am here - to annoint others. (A good sleep helped also, as it did with Elijah - still working on those rhythms)

GuyMuse said...

Antonio,

Please feel free to email me if you need someone to "listen." Just writing the post yesterday helped me immensely to see that God is in control of all aspects of our life. One thing that is helping me is focus on "annointing others" and less on my feelings of despair and weariness.

Negrito,

You guys have been on the front burner of our prayers these days. I'll have to ask J this afternoon about the SP song--it doesn't sound like my genre of music :) We too are learning the importance of getting adequate rest. I didn't mention that part in my post to keep it from getting too long. The Kings 19 passage is certainly one for someone in your position, especially the part about keeping focused on "annointing others." Stay strong...can't tell you how much we miss you guys--it's part of the reason we feel the "I alone am left..." syndrome. You guys are no longer here to help share the load!

Tim Patterson said...

Guy,

I like the way you applied that passage. I have a similar experience. You are on the right track... empowering others and being content with where God leads and whatever station in life He orchestrates. Remember that in the end the least will be the greatest. We will all be surprised by the unknown people that He recognizes on that day.

Gary Snowden said...

Good words, Guy. Glad that the Lord spoke to you through His message to Elijah. I am continually uplifted and encouraged as I read about what the Lord is doing in and through your ministry in Guayaquil. I've been praying about the family issues that Linda hinted at on her blog without knowing the details, but that's okay because the Lord surely does.

I attended the IMB appointment service last night at Pleasant Valley Baptist in Liberty, MO and it was a wonderful service. Dr. Rankin's charge to the new missionaries and his appeal to those present to consider God's call on their lives to missions service were both outstanding.

I had the opportunity to meet Micah Fries and John Stickley who had come down from St. Joseph with several of their young people. I also got to visit briefly with Dickie and Dee Nelson and Randy and Kathy Arnett. I missed seeing Wade--don't know if I just didn't recognize him or never picked him out in the crowd.

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

Thanks for the good word, it is much appreciated! I can imagine that you are probably going through a lot of spiritual questioning of the Lord yourself these days.

Gary,

Thanks for praying for our family situation. It has been the cause of much of the emotional drain which has led to our "weary prophet" status. Glad you were able to attend the IMB appointment service. I still vividly recall many years ago the appointment service where Dr. Baker James Cauthen spoke and where I made my own public committment to foreign missions. We have a huge appreciation for Dickie and Dee and consider ourselves lucky to have them as our RL, glad you were able to meet them.

Strider said...

Great Word Guy! An annointing ministry. Yes, that is what I want to have- do have? Persevere.

GuyMuse said...

Strider,

From reading your own posts, I would certainly agree that you have your own "annointing ministry" going on!

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

One thing about it, Guy; I don't think you are where you are out of fear of a meddling queen. I hear your heart. I have been there myself. I won't be surprised if one day I am there again.

As you said, instead of a pity party let's go have an anointing party.

KDS

GuyMuse said...

Kevin,

I went to an "annointing party" last night and came home thoroughly refreshed to see one of our new trainee CPers do a great job. Now, if we could only annoint 499 others to go out and do the same!

Cindy said...

My parents were missionaries to Lebanon when I was a child (many years ago!), but I do know a bit about where you're coming from. Let me encourage you. You're doing something wonderful for the cause of Christ. May He richly bless and strengthen you today!

GuyMuse said...

Cindy,

Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. I appreciate the encouraging words. Drop by as much as you like and pray for us when the Spirit reminds you to do so!

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Guy, for the insight. Just this morning I was leading a Bible study in the book of Jonah and we were asking ourselves how a prophet of God could have gotten into such a state of mind that he would ignore God's directive and stop caring about people. He ran away from a whole city full of rotten sinners, and slept while a whole boat full of lost pagans were about to drown because of him.
Your post made me think: maybe at one point Jonah was simply discouraged and decided not to go to God and His words for help.

GuyMuse said...

Kathleen,

Discouragement and despair are two of the Enemies main tools. If he can get us to take our eyes off Christ and focus on our discouragement and despair, we lose all sense of reality of God's purposes and ways for our lives. May the Lord help us all to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfector of the faith, regardless of how we might feel about things. Thanks for coming by, and feel free to visit often!