If this sounds disappointing or discouraging to you, pause for a moment and consider this question: Do you think God wants you to use him?
The desire to be used by God sounds good on the surface. Noble even. But it’s not what He’s after.
This is good news because at our core, we don’t want to be used. We want to be loved. We want our work to matter to someone because we matter to them. We want our suffering to matter for the same reason.
God’s after something different than using you. He’s after you.
Read Jesus’ story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. As you do, what’s your impression of what the father is most interested in—the usefulness of his sons or the nearness of his sons?
As Jesus tells it, the father leaves where he is to go out to meet and bring each son inside. In fact, any 1st century Jew listening to Jesus would think the father was humiliating himself, all to be with his boys.
So where does work come in? Aren’t we called to serve God?
Yes. Service comes because God, like the father in Luke 15, is a God who serves. I don’t mean he puts us in charge and does our bidding; but moved by love for all of us, the Father chooses to serve. A quick read through the Gospels reveals Christ living precisely this way.
And being that he wants to be near to us and us to him, he invites us to serve in the ways he serves.
He doesn’t want to use you. He doesn’t want you to use him (or others for that matter). He wants to share his life with you.
As he said to the older brother in Luke 15:31, “All that I have is yours.”
What do you think: How does this view of God change how it feels to serve Him? And does this view hold up in light of the painfully sacrificial things God sometimes calls us to do?