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?
Yes i hate that concept God wants to use you sometimes it makes feel like your only value is like how many ppl come to church bc of you. It makes you feel ..well used. I think spread the Gospel is the most noble. But when God puts you through suffering or discpline only for the sake of others to b saved you feel used. Its a me generation and i suppose feeling like the ONLY reason i was born was to make someone else pay for something or somehow be some example to tge world of what happens to people who disobey Him makes feel like a guinea pig. While i know God can do with me what He pleases it makes me feel like a wife thats used to make baby only. That may indeed be my only purpose but who wants to feel like that. We have a soul and it needs connection not just im here to serve but He doesnt care about us only His purposes. This makes me like a pawn and yes USED.
It sounds like you’ve experienced what it’s like to live under a false idea of God that he is after only what you can do for him. That’s painful. I pray Christ continues to reveal himself to you, revealing more and more of the true heart of the Father as you walk with him. Peace to you.
What a fantastic article! It is good to want to serve God – but this article reminds us that he wants our hearts, not only our hands.
Well put, Charlie!
Greetings, I’m Lauren and I’ve just recently begun
to get involved with what you’re going over. I am not sure where you’re obtaining your ideas, but great job even so. I really should commit some time learning and understanding much more. Thanks for this: I was looking for this info for my mission.
I enjoy the insights on this blog. And this one stopped me in my tracks. I printed it out, grabbed my Bible, and broke away from work for a walk, as I sensed God has something for me in this to more fully realize. For years, I’ve cried out in many ways for God to use my life. And because I tend to be a task oriented and action-item-focused person, it often lacks relationship, the type of relationship that I think God created us for. I tend to acknowledge the importance of relationship in my head, but cut it short of reaching my heart. He wants to share His life with me and for me to share my life with Him. So the work must go on, but I need to have a different approach to it. Thanks, Josh!