There used to be a church down the street from my house that had a billboard on its lawn that read, “Do something great for God.” This billboard used to drive me crazy. I started thinking of it because I faced a dilemma this evening. Wash the dishes, or don’t wash the dishes? What to do?
Often times, because of our “Christianese” language and how we’ve been programmed, we want to do something “great” for the Lord. Back in Bible College, all my classmates were studying to be overseas missionaries and many achieved that goal. All the while I ended up caring for my family and living at home. Yippee, right?
It’s so easy to dream of being the next Francis Chan or Mother Teresa. It’s easy to compare and wish you could be something “bigger” or “greater” than you currently are. Most of our missions are small in comparison to famous people such as them. When we think about doing something “great” for God we can easily miss the “greatness” He has in store for us in our everyday existence. The truth is that you don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary. As a caregiver, I’ve learned that my everyday life is my mission. I know that seeking Jesus involves a daily funeral for myself. Truth be told, it is not easy or fun to dig our plots and bury our skin daily, but alas, it’s what we’ve been called to do.
In dealing with all of this food stuff, I keep coming back to the same thing. Lord, I want You to be enough. What’s with this constant craving? Why am I so unsatisfied? Why do I desire and dream of my own form of greatness instead of understanding the greatness I’ve been given? JESUS. Jesus is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. What is it within us that thinks He’s not enough? Why Lord, why do I not understand that you are more than enough?
And then I think back to that stupid intrusive “Do something great for God” sign and here I am years later, and I’m still asking myself if God is really enough, and I’m supposed to act like I don’t still dream of being in Africa doing medical missions, loving orphans, and curing AIDS? I’m supposed to desire something great, yet be satisfied in Him as enough when I don’t get to do the GREAT things I apparently think I should be doing?! What!?
Then, it hits me. The something great I am doing for God, is surrendering every right, want, dream, and tool of self-preservation. The GREAT thing I can do for God is to get out of His way. It hits me. And instead of pummeling me with stings, it soothes my weary heart with His ever gentle love.
Jesus wants me to surrender and be willing to do what He calls me to. Even if that means ten years of schooling before I can serve in Africa, if I serve there. Even if that means changing my father’s diapers, even though I don’t think he ever changed mine. Even if that means watching loved ones pass, even if that means surrendering the right to marry, have children, eat pizza or sugar, buy clothes, sleep comfortably, have a roof over my head, have a car, watch the Lord of The Rings trilogy in one sitting- yes, the great thing I can do for God, is to surrender and be lead in the doing because the truth is that nothing I can do or bring to God is of any worth. The purpose of the Gospel is to love God, and love others and to serve as He says, leads, and calls. Period. All I have to do is seek Him, and the doing gets done.
In doing something great for God, I have been learning that all my little surrenders, things like serving my father (when he was alive), and serving my family now, amount to Him doing something Great in me. When I am in Him, serving Him, glorifying Him, He changes me. He is great in me, when I am clinging to Him, surrendering whatever I feel completes me.
No one wants to take the trash out. I’m staring at this pile of dishes and I am fighting all of me on this because I am tired, and I know my housemates are tired too. And I know that I can love them well by doing it. But who wants to do the dishes?? Can they even be done to the glory of God?? Does Francis Chan wash dishes?? Isn’t he busy learning and studying and growing with the Lord all day long? Does that include dishes, does he surrender his time hanging out with Chris Tomlin to serve his family and wash the dishes?!?! (Francis used to be my pastor, and I’m certain he washes dishes. Lol)
Seriously though who wants to do the dirty work? I remember clipping fingernails, changing diapers, and bathing an 82 yr old combative Dementia patient. I remember doing his laundry, and spending hours in the kitchen cooking meals, and cleaning the beds, the floors, the whole house, and even still, having to drive people around all day. My life still looks this way, despite my father’s passing. In a typical day, I am driving my niece, nephew, mom and sister around most of the day. It’s not a dream job, but it’s a job that must be done. And when I surrender my wants and my rights, I find the Great God that is doing something GREAT in me, instead of me longing for the other way around.
I die a little more every day. And no matter how unappealing that sounds, it is the best dream of my life. That one day, I will be fully given to Jesus and living in absolute abandon to His good and perfect will. Now, let me reiterate that I don’t do any of this perfectly. In dying daily, I am SUCKING at it! Some days are easier than others. But the point I am making is that we who profess to love the Lord must be willing to surrender OUR dreams of greatness, dare I even say, “success” and live in the GREATNESS he has called us to. Your life, your children, your marriage, your job, your home, your sin struggles, your thoughts, your finances, your worries, your fears, your doubts, yea even your sleeping can be done to the glory of God. There is greatness in all of that, if your perspective and purpose is set on Jesus Christ as King and Lord, everything you do in your daily life can be you doing something great for God. So, yippee indeed. Here goes everything, as I grab this sponge and soap and begin to lather up this pile of dishes. I know that my surrender is the best thing I can do right now.
The point of living is glorifying God in everything. Because this life is not about what work I can do to save me, but rather what or how I can elevate Jesus and what He’s done for me and how He’s saved me. So, yes, the answer is, yes Jesus, you are enough. And yes, intrusive billboard that used to be down the street from me that still comes to mind often, yes. Let’s do something great for God!
Let’s start with surrender.