Sarah Bessey is right, God doesn’t use us. Christ did not die that we might become useful. The phrase “God used me” has never sat well with my heart, my heart so prone to the wild gyrations of the striving but so eager to rest with Creator. But it’s a phrase I’ve used often enough, usually with a wince, just hoping I wouldn’t give the wrong impression.

Could this silly phrase be born of good intentions, of a need to describe something just a little ineffable? It’s that hands-and-feet-of-God thing, that thing about calling, that thing you sometimes don’t want to do and it would sometimes be easier not to do and you certainly don’t do it by yourself – being a servant. It’s when every once in a while God shows up where you weren’t looking and whispers, You are indeed an instrument of my peace; well done, well done.

Those times, no we aren’t “used”, but neither do we buck up and do these things ourselves, or draw some vague inspiration from God, or accidentally float on a cloud of ill-defined love to find ourselves in the uncomfortable places, the humble places, the servant’s place. God seems to have this habit of doing things with people, not really on this solo supernatural power trip but not really people all alone. God parted the sea; but Moses raised the staff. What’s the word for that?

No, I don’t want to be used, but I really must insist that I be moved. Let me serve as hands or feet or nose, let me be a doorkeeper in the house, let me not believe obedience to be a dirty word but a posture of trust in the Holy One. May I be so moved by the longings of God’s heart that I would not be still in the face of hatred, injustice and lies. May I play my part, however little I might understand it, with humility to know it is the power of Christ in me. On my own, I could not, I would not; may I bear witness, and say God moved me.

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  1. I like that distinction. That was what happened to the Good Samaritan: he was “moved with pity.” Moving means that God is acting and we’re reacting. Nice observation!

  2. Dave

     /  March 13, 2013

    If God is using me, then it implies 1) something is getting accomplished because of my efforts and so my effort is not wasted, 2) what is being accomplished is according with what God wants to be accomplished, 3) what has been accomplished is greater than what could have been done by myself, my efforts are part of something larger than myself. This doesn’t sound too bad to me.

    Certainly the highest calling is to be “one after God’s own heart”, but who could seriously be called a man after God’s heart without being used by God? They are not independent. When one is obedient (the word I would use for Moses rasing his staff) you cannot help but be used by God.


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