Chosen Vessels; September 23, 2021

Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

We speak highly of those God chooses to to His work, but we don’t always think about how those people might feel. I think every “chosen vessel” thinks sometimes, “Couldn’t You have chosen someone else?” At the same time, there is enormous reward to being used by God. I’m sure there were countless times that Moses wished he could “retire,” but he started his major ministry from age 80! In the Facebook group I’m in for children of missionaries, many write of the suffering and deprivation their parents endured for the sake of the Gospel, much as the Lord said about Saul. However, the majority of those who write such things also talk about their enormous pride in their parents, acknowledging that they were imperfect but being grateful for their example. We tend to look at famous/wealthy people with envy and even awe, but they are at least as human as we are. We fail to see their struggles, and we judge their successes by human standards. How foolish! The thing is, each of us is chosen by God for something. Otherwise, we wouldn’t exist. Frankly, I don’t think anyone is chosen by God for “easy street!” The point is not to focus on the negatives and grouse and gripe about it all, but rather to focus on gratitude that God would deign to use you. Jesus was very clear that things wouldn’t be easy for anyone, but He reminded us that in Him we already have victory. (John 16:33)

This is precisely the Word that I need right now. I’m in the middle of various projects, and the conflicts and “bumps in the road” were really getting me down. I could clone myself several times and every one of me would have plenty to do! My stress doesn’t come from God, but from the demands and expectations I place on myself. I am constantly telling others about how an “attitude of gratitude” is the key to genuine happiness, but I fail to maintain such an attitude myself. Rather than focusing on difficulties or even mistakes, I need to focus on the God who enables me to do things in the first place, and to recognize when I’ve done things wrong so that they can be corrected. As I tell others all the time, depression is at its root self-centered. The answer is always to lift our eyes to our Father who loves us so much as to send His Son to save us. It is when we do that, that we really understand that “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Father, thank You for this very timely reminder. Thank You for helping me understand when I’ve made mistakes, and how, so that I may go on to correct them. Help me indeed not focus on the negatives that surround me, but rather on You, in whom I “live and move and have my being.” (Acts 17:28) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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