By Joanne Putnam
Have you ever prayed to be used of God? Have you ever prayed that God would take your life into His own hands and use you for His divine will and purpose in His kingdom?
Have you ever really considered what the statement “to be used of God” means?
For a moment I would like for you to think about the things you use in this life. Throughout a typical American day, we use a lot of things! We use rooms in our home, we use clothes, we use soaps, shampoos, hair dryers, cleaning supplies, lights, electricity, machines, appliances, vehicles, pencils, computers, paper, books. . . .
Some things we use are highly expendable. Like paper towels or soap, we use them once, then throw them in the trash or wash them down the drain.
Some things we use require very little maintenance. We may need to stack them, reorganize them, or clean them occasionally, but basically they just sit there with very little activity until we actually need to use them.
Some things we use require a lot of maintenance and are very “touchy.” They require constant vigilance in making sure that they stay in good working order. Often these are the big-ticket items that we feel we just must have, but we don’t use them nearly as much as we thought we would, and we end up having to learn again and again how to use them! Or we end up using them as very expensive coat racks because we don’t make the time to use them like we know we should. (Exercise equipment!)
Some things we use are recyclable. Plastics, cardboard, oils, steel, water; they’re even working on ways to recycle our garbage so we don’t have so many landfills. Things can be cleansed, reformed, reformatted, and restructured to be used over and over in different capacities.
So what does “use” mean?
– As a noun it means employ, exercise, utilization, application, consumption, benefit, avail, and service.
– As a verb it means to make use of, put into operation, set in motion, set to work, work, exert, exercise, take up, try to bring into play, use up, consume, expend, be spent, tax, task, help, aid, and to discharge a function.
– As an adjective it means to be instrumental, utilitarian, subservient, employable, valuable, productive, effectual, effective, available, and workable.
Being used expends energy. It is work!
We sing that old song, “To Be Used of God,” but do we think of the ramifications of what we are singing?
Some of the synonyms for work sound pretty good: utilize, employ, benefit, available, but what about the ones that say work! Exert! Exercise! Expend! Subservient! Ow!
God truly wants to use us, and He will if we just allow Him to!
I Corinthians 12:28 tells us: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
So often we think that for God to use us, either we have to be in a certain spiritual condition or that the task He calls us to do has to be magnificent for it to count. That just is not true!
God has given the church certain leadership positions, but we are not all called to be those leaders. Not all of us are needed to preach crusades to hundreds of thousands of people in Ethiopia like Reverend Billy Cole.
There are other gifts that we can all do and participate in. One of the gifts He has given is the gift of “helps.” I think this is one of those words that we all just skim over as we read this text. The gift of helps is a gift that everyone can and should participate in.
God wants to use each of us where we are and with the sources we personally have available, even though we may of think it is very much. He wants us to do the things we can o for Him now!
Maybe you can’t talk to one hundred people every day, but you could pray with the coworker who just told you he is sick or bring him to church like the four friends who carried their friend to Jesus and ended up taking the tiles off the roof to get him inside where Jesus was. You can demonstrate your faith to those you meet every day as you show people kindness by what you say and what you do: a smile, a kind word, a compliment.
You can be like the servant girl who told Naaman where he needed to go to see the prophet in order to be healed of leprosy.
You can be like the widow who chose to feed the prophet, knowing that she had so little food that there would probably be nothing left for her and her son.
You could be like the good Samaritan who stopped to care for a dying man whom many people passed because they were too busy and didn’t want to get their hands dirty.
You could be like the Shunammite woman who had a burden for the prophet, so she had her husband build a little room so the prophet would have a comfortable place to stay as he traveled through their land.
According to Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
HELPS: It is a gift of ministry (I Corinthians 12:28).
The helps of I Corinthians refers to the ability to offer help or assistance. It has been suggested that Paul refers to the ministry of the deacons who care for the poor and the sick. It is a general reference to all those who demonstrate love in their dealings with others.
So the gift of helps is actually demonstrating love, something we should be doing every day of our lives as we share the love of Christ. It is being available when a need arises, be it big or small. We are laborers together with Him when we help others.
For we are laborers together with God. (I Corinthians 3:9)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58)
Jesus will never ask you to do something beyond your reach. You may have to stretch when you take that first step, like the widow woman who fed the prophet first or the friends who had to take the tiles off the roof, but He will be right there.
Never fear that you can’t do what He asks you to do: God always empowers whomever He employs! That means that He will never give you a task to do that is too great for you to accomplish, with His help.
Are you willing to let God use you? Unfortunately, sometimes we give God lip service. We say we are willing to be used, but when He calls upon us, we hesitate, just like the people who looked at the wounded man who had been beaten and robbed. We look at the need and run away quickly so we won’t be pressed into service.
If you really desire to be used by God in the gift of helps, I do need to warn you about something. When you open yourself up to helping people you also open yourself up to be hurt. When you help people, they don’t always respond in the way you think they should. Kind of like the wounded animal that you tried to help that turned to bite you. You knew you were only trying to help, but the animal lashed out at you, thinking you were trying to hurt it. Sometimes that happens with people too! That’s why, when you help someone, you have to realize that ultimately you are doing it for the Lord, and unfortunately that’s how people treat Him too. Always keep in mind that when you help someone, you are doing the work for Him. You are His hands and feet.
So you’ve determined you want to be used by God; now the next question is: How will you respond when He uses you?
– Will you let Him use you like you use a paper towel, just throwing it in the trash and forgetting about it? What if, after you’re used, you don’t receive any personal credit for what you have done? There’s no doubt about it, when we want to be used of God, we need to realize that work is involved and that we may never get credit for the things we have done. So if you’re looking for “glory” and “rewards,” you’ll just have to wait until you get to heaven!
– Are you willing to sit on the shelf and wait, like some of the things we use, until He feels it is the right timing to use you, even though you may feel the timing is right now?
– Will you be like the “touchy” things we use that require a lot of maintenance? Will you be offended if you aren’t constantly told what a good job you’ve done? Will you fold yourself away like a piece of exercise equipment, putting yourself under a bed and pouting for a while?
– Are you willing to let God recycle you? Willing to be used again and again and again, in whatever capacity the Lord has need of? Being willing to do whatever job He needs you to do? It could be to take out the garbage at church. It could be to help clean up after a potluck. It could be to teach Sunday school. It could be to clean out your closet to give someone needed clothes. It could be to pick up people to come to church. It could be to sit with someone in the hospital while a loved one is in surgery. It could be to help someone at the checkout line who’s run a little short of cash and just needs a couple of dollars to pay the rest of the bill so she won’t have to put things back on the shelf. It could be to send a card in the mail telling someone you’ve been missing him at church and that you are praying for him. It could be to respond to an accident with emergency help. It could be to host a foreign exchange student to introduce her to the truth of God’s Word. It could be to pray with a distraught coworker on the spur of the moment. It could be a pat on the back and word of encouragement to a friend. It could be to silently slip some cash into the hand of a brother or sister whom you know is having a difficult time.
– It could be teaching a Bible study.
– Sometimes it is just a kind word: “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isaiah 50:4).
– And the list goes on and on.
I think it is interesting that just three verses after the Word talks about the gift of helps is I Corinthians 13:1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”
And what is charity? Love. And what is love? God. The Lord Jesus Christ. It is we when we become His hands and feet, helping people in whatever capacity we can, and being available to help others so they can see the love of Christ working in us.
I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. (I Corinthians 16:15-16) Paul said that the house of Stephanas had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” and then he told the readers of his letter, “Submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.” (1 Corinthians 16:15-16
Paul said that the house of Stephanas had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” and then he told the readers of his letter, “Submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.”
If you truly are willing to allow God to use you to help people with the gift of helps:
– you don’t care who gets the credit,
– you realize you could get your feelings hurt,
– And you are willing to allow God to use you in whatever capacity He will.
Take a moment right now to bow your head and ask the Lord: Lord, what would You have me do? Whom would you have me help today? How can I be used by You to accomplish the greatest work possible in these last days?
This article was taken from “Let’s Go Down to the Potter’s House” By Joanne Putnam