Paul reveals a part of the process of receiving our Godly calling and acting upon it.
2 Corinthians 8:16-17
16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.
For at least the past few entries I have been talking about seeking out God’s design or will for your life and whatever you discover, do it. The two verses we read today echo this process and they also echo the process that my wife and I went through when learning about God’s calling on our lives as missionaries in Guatemala. One of the biggest realizations we had in this process was the true meaning of Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. We always thought this meant that if we are “good” in regards to what God says, He will reward us by giving us what we desire. However, the truth in this is that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness (i.e. seek out His will in our lives) that He will transplant desires that are in accordance with His will upon our hearts. This is the earnestness that Paul revealed in Titus to serve the church at Corinth.
It took us a while to figure out and some time for our friends and families to understand that yes, while my wife and I were maturing in the church and increasingly developing servant hearts as a result, our call to serve in Guatemala wasn’t our choice. My wife didn’t even really want to go to Guatemala on our first short-term trip with our church. During that trip, however, something changed inside both our hearts and we were changed forever. A simple prayer, “Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours,” and He did. We started seeking His will for our lives instead of our own and our world got flipped upside down.
Notice the second element: need. There was a need for Titus to serve Corinth just like there is a need for us to serve the church in Guatemala. Our pastor told us we need to know what we are going to do; we can’t just show up with a few bags and say, “ok, here we are to serve!” We took a trip to Guatemala and without even telling the pastor we planned to serve alongside much of our background, he named off the areas the church needed help with. These were ALL things that we had experience in, education for, and a desire to be involved with. It wasn’t as if we forced ourselves upon them and said, “we are coming to help, so you need to create a purpose for us.” The purpose and need was already there.
The third element is choosing to go. It shouldn’t be about compulsion from outside influence nor should it be something you do to look good on your resume for president. The convincing factor should be the multi-sourced evidence around and inside you that this is what you were born to do. This is why you are breathing still. Yesterday I mentioned a verse that we are approaching in 2 Corinthians 9 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. We must recognize that this doesn’t refer to just money or material things, but about our hearts, our love, our time, and energy.
If we earnestly seek out God’s will for our lives He will give us the desire He wants us to have in our hearts. He will affirm this from different sources that seem too “coincidental” to be an accident. We will also have this inward drive to do it, even though it might seem completely contrary to our current path of life, what the world says we should do, and how we thought our life would turn out.
Why did God keep you breathing today?