Christmas Reflections, Day 3: Wanted

When it comes to God’s will, why are we so taken with the idea of being used by God?

 

Read through the Gospel of Mark some time. As you do, ask yourself: what people are absolutely essential to this story?

One could conclude that Mary is essential because she gave birth to Christ. If she wouldn’t have, maybe the story wouldn’t have happened.

God is essential, because God became flesh. Mary gave Him that flesh.

Jesus is essential because He was God in the flesh.

Then you stumble upon Pontius Pilate who, in an artificial sense, had the power to kill Christ.

You stumble upon Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ and handed him over to the bad guys.

You have whoever it was who nailed Him up to that cross.

 

Out of all the people God used to accomplish His will in the Gospel of Mark, only a couple of them were very nice people. Most of them, on the other hand, were very bad.

 

We all want to be useful to God. But why should that be the goal?

Maybe our usefulness is not that big a deal.

Maybe it’s another lie we’ve fallen for, a misconception born of a gap we’ve filled with our misguided assumptions, that it’s good to be useful and something to aspire to.

 

But God can use anybody. God used Joseph’s brothers. God used Goliath and Pharaoh and God used Nebuchadnezzar.

(Think about those seven years Nebuchadnezzar spent as a beast. God was using him.)

 

God used Judas Iscariot and God used Pontius Pilate.

Maybe it’s not that big a deal to be used by God.

 

Mark is the briefest of all four gospels. And the shocking thing is that Mark, though impossibly brief, gives us these terrific little details none of the other authors give us.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Himself those that He wanted” (Mark 3:13).

Out of the twelve people Jesus wanted, only one was essential to His goal in coming to earth. The other eleven were useless to Him.

But they were wanted by Him.

 

And I realize this:

I would much rather have God want me than have God use me.

I would much rather be wanted by God than used by Him.

 

Because God can use anybody.

 

But if God wants me?

That difference is a mile wide. And it makes all the difference.

 

When we realize that God wants us, we become less preoccupied with proving ourselves useful. We become less ambitious like Saul and less pretentious like Judas.

When we realize God wants us, we are free to be. We are free to move around inside that love, to learn and explore and experience Him. And when we learn to do that there’s a good chance our usefulness to Him becomes simply a byproduct of our being wanted by Him.

If we could just learn to lay down all our stuff, all our useless usefulness and secret ambitions and just let God love us, I think we’d pretty nearly be in heaven.

The rest just comes on its own. Because–

What has God asked of you, O man?

Just that you act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8).

That’s it.

 

Quit focusing on being used by Him. If he needs you, He’ll use you. Focus instead on wanting Him back. Because He wants you. He loves you. Let that love change how you live.

Christmas reminds us of this. That God wants us. That it’s His story and in it He uses whoever He will, and it’s not that big of a deal and it’s nothing to aspire to.

ButHe wants us. So badly He moved heaven and earth to let us know.

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