The Lord provides His children with opportunities to bring Him glory as well as draw others to Jesus. The job is going to get done no matter what, but we have the choice on how we're going to play our part.
God can still use us to advance His kingdom even if we're only interested in living for ourselves. We see this with Samson. Even though Samson was only interested in fulfilling his fleshly desires like lust and pride, we see that the Lord still uses him to take out the enemy. However, as we see in judges, that Samson brought destruction and humiliation upon himself. The Lord uses Samson in great ways despite Samson's disobedience. As a result, God was still given all the glory, Samson, however, died with humiliation and disgrace.
Remember, no matter what, God will always be glorified.
Sometimes the Lord will use us despite our resistance like we see with Samson and other times, the Lord will allow us to choose to pass up an opportunity He provides for us. When this happens, the Lord will go ahead and assign the task to someone else. We saw this with Moses and Aaron. God told Moses to go speak out loud. Moses asked if his brother, Aaron, could speak the messages that God had put in Moses instead and the Lord said, "okay."
Years ago, my church at the time held a talent show. At the time, I was unaware of any gifts and talents I had so I was planning on sitting in the back quietly and watching other share theirs. As soon as I took a seat, the pastor said, "Alyssa can do it." The pastor was talking to a gentleman who wrote a worship poem. This gentleman had to work behind the scenes for the talent show so he was unable to share his poem in front of everybody so he was asking if someone else could read it out loud for him. My stomach dropped as the poet handed his poem over to me and the pastor wrote my name down on the list of presenters.
The Lord had provided me with an opportunity to glorify him and to stretch me but all I felt was dread. I listened to all the excuses in my head - I was caught off guard, I was uncomfortable, I don't like the sound of my voice, what if people thought the poem was lame?
As I nervously sat there, my friend sat beside me and she could read my face. She asked what was wrong and I complained to her over what I was going to have to do. Being the brave and godly woman that my friend is, she volunteered to read the poem in my place so I didn't have to. My friend walked up to the microphone when it was time and she read the poem to everyone. Everything went fine and she didn't collapse on the floor and die of embarrassment. Later on, the Holy Spirit told me that He wanted to gift ME with that opportunity to speak in front of everyone. It was a gift from God! And I said "no, thank you." Ultimately, the Lord got the glory from the poem, but Jesus wanted me to take a part in this task...for me. I don't know what exactly would have come from this gift, this opportunity. Perhaps the Lord would've used it to strengthen my public speaking. Or perhaps He wanted me to practice resisting my feelings of anxiety and just simply press forward when it comes to His will. I don't know and maybe I'll never know because I passed this up.
Regardless, God wastes nothing. I learned a big lesson from this in that the Lord will be glorified no matter what and it's a gift, it's an honor when He provides an the opportunity to glorify Him.
So how do you know when God is providing an opportunity for you to serve Him? You can start off with asking, "will this glorify Jesus?" Also, has He given you the resources and/or the facilities to do this task? When it came to reading this poem in front of everybody, I already had the necessary tools. I knew how to read and I had the ability to talk. So yes, I had the tools.
It's easy for us to think, "I don't have the tools, I don't have the resources to glorify You. But we do!
Next time you walk into McDonalds, can you afford a $5 gift card to hand over to a homeless person? Can you trade in some of your TV watching time to go rake leaves out of a widow's yard? Do you have the ingredients as well as a working stove to bake cookies for your lonely neighbor?
We have the tools and the Lord provides us with opportunities every day to glorify Him, to help others, and to strengthen our walks with Him. We need to be in the habit of recognizing the gifts that God has given us. Your job, your running water, your wardrobe, the breath in your lungs, the knowledge of the one true Lord. These are all gifts from Him. It is a privilege to honor the Lord with whatever gifts he's given us at the moment.
For years, the Holy Spirit had been urging me to do these videos. Despite having a good camera, professional lighting, and a husband who is willing to edit and makes music, I would talk myself out of this. I would say, "I'm not a theologian, I don't know enough! What if people think that I just want attention? I'm too tired! My voice bugs me," etc. What was so funny is that I'd allow these excuses to talk me out of doing these videos that would glorify the Lord, and then I'd turn around and ask the Lord to please increase my territory and give me ways to advance His kingdom. The Holy Spirit would patiently remind me that I must be faithful in the little things.
This is it! I had been asking the Heavenly Father for something to do and when He would provide me with something to do, I would say, "mmmm, no, not that one." The Lord is not a grab bag in which we can toss the assignment that we don't like on the ground and then reach our grubby little hands into the bag for something else to do or for something else to choose from.
God knows more than us, He knows what will honor Him, what will help others, what will strengthen us. So when He tells us to go, we must go. When He tells us to walk through this open door, we better walk through. If we're not being faithful in the little things, how are we going to expect Him to provide something bigger for us to do?
I hope you're encouraged to be faithful in the little things and to not allow excuses to keep you from glorifying Jesus.