Letting God lead is not the same as letting things happen. Lack of preparation is not a Kingdom value.
These two sentences explain a lot about me. How I’m wired. Driven. What formulates the root expression of my life
I blame my mother (in a good way, I guess). I often remember her quietly powerful voice cautioning me, “don’t ask God for help if you don’t do your part,” as I poured over the notes for a Science test or rehearsed for a piano recital.
Lots of truth there. Salvation is a free gift, but God still expects things from us. Following Jesus doesn’t mean we’re effortlessly chilling in the back of a stretch limo while He’s negotiating the I-9 (Jesus, take the wheel).
- God gave Israel the promised land, then told them to physically go and take it. (Joshua 18:3)
- Solomon exalts diligence and hard work. (Proverbs 10:4 amongst plenty of other places)
- Heck, Jesus himself chastised the servant who buried the Master’s money in the sand instead of taking a risk and doing something with it. (Luke 19:20-26)
So where does godly effort morph into obsessive control? Where does making things happen begin stepping on the sovereignty of God? When does diligence begin to necessitate medication?
More good questions. More good tension (which is where I find the truth has usually taken up residence).
In two short days, 22 CityCom’ers will board a plane for La Ceiba, Honduras. One of those team members is a complete surprise. Following the unfortunate fallout of an automobile accident (all healing well), one plane ticket lost it’s owner just three short weeks before our departure date.
In discussing potential last minute replacements, we tossed around a smorgasbord of different names. We strategized. We white-boarded. Who was the best candidate to fill that empty slot? We had some ideas. Some good ones. We were ready to make things happen.
And then we just stopped.
“Let’s wait. Let’s sleep on it. Let’s ask God to say something here that we simply can’t deny.”
And so we did. And wouldn’t you know?
At 9AM the next morning, I got an unexpected phone call. We love our friend Steve, but he wasn’t on our short list (he wasn’t on any list). He hadn’t even crossed our minds. But two vivid dreams of boarding a plane to Honduras gave Steve and his wife the courage to call and ask if there was somehow an open slot for this trip that had been full for months.
In one moment, God did more than hours of frantic phone calls and wise “strategery” could have ever accomplished.
Because we asked.
Because we waited.
Because we listened.
This was one great lesson for me. We humans are undeniably good at justifying our cowardice with inaction. But we’ve also mastered the art of creating momentum around our own ideas. If we’re really talented, we can even attach God to them for further marketing appeal.
But now we’re going to work. We’re doing our part. We’re making things happen. All with the knowledge that God has undeniably spoken, and our diligence is simply a response to what He’s already at work doing. That’s the kind of effort I want to get behind.
How do you balance the tension between letting God work and doing your work?