“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” —Luke 4:42-43 NIV
“He’s like me..he came here to teach people about love and about Jesus. Now he has to go back home to heaven and soon I will too. . . ”
Two weeks before our daughter Maegan died in 1997, we were watching a movie about an angel who had come to earth on a mission and at the end of the movie when it was time for him to return, she turned and said this to me in sign language. (Maegan was deaf) There was a hint of sadness in her expression, but I was taken aback by how confident she seemed, knowing that she had completed her assignment on earth and was ready to go “Home.”
I decided then that I wanted to be like Maegan—to know without a doubt what I was made for and to walk out that purpose in my everyday life so that I can hear one day as I have no doubt she did, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” As believers, we all have the same purpose in that we were made to love and be loved by God and to bring Him glory with our lives as we love and serve others, but we each have an unique personal mission as well—a “Tailor-made blueprint” for our days on the earth. Our problem is that we get sidetracked or loaded down with the cares of this world or even helping someone else with their mission, which is not necessarily a “bad” thing. In fact, it is most often a “good thing”, but we have to continually be asking the question, “is this God’s Best for me? Is this why I was sent?” It would have been a “good” thing for Jesus to stay and continue to minister to the group in Luke 4, but He recognized it was not His Father’s BEST and so in this circumstance, Jesus said NO.
One of my favorite stories (from the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver) is about a man who asks God if he can do something for Him and God gives him the task of carrying three rocks in a wagon up to the top of a hill. The man is thrilled about his “mission” for God and takes off singing. Along the way, friends hear what he is doing and ask if he could take their rock or “bag of sand” or “handful of gravel” to the top of the hill too. He agrees and lets them put their burdens in his wagon because well, surely God would want me to help my friends, right? As the wagon grew fuller, the man was no longer singing praises, and resentment began to build until he was ready to give up and let go of the wagon altogether.
God comes along and asks what the problem is. “You gave me a job that is too hard”, the man sobbed. God begins to unload the items others had placed in the wagon until only the three stones He had given him were left. “Let others shoulder their own belongings,” God said gently. “I know you were trying to help but when you are weighted down with all these cares, you cannot do what I have asked of you.” (pgs 51-52)
The first step to finding out “why you were sent” is to ask God what “rocks” He has placed in your wagon. My rocks are prayer, writing and teaching. Recently Savannah’s school had need of someone to organize the library and for someone to plan special events and parties. While I was tempted to meet the needs out of a genuine desire to serve her school, I waited and I’m so glad I did because the following week, I was asked to join a weekly prayer group with other parents to intercede for staff and students and later to substitute for an elementary Bible class teacher. I was able to say “Yes!” to these requests that were God’s “best” for me, and clearly rocks that He had placed in my wagon. (AND the event coordinator and library organizing positions were filled by others who were gifted in those areas and thrilled to serve!) One of the best definitions of stress I have heard is “when your mouth says yes to a request while your heart says no.”
There’s a commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Today I am asking you, “What’s in your wagon?” As we near the end of the year, take some time to go to a “solitary place” and ask God what rocks HE has placed in your wagon and ask for the grace to remove some rocks that are not His “best”. In John 17:4, Jesus was able to say “I finished the work You gave me to do”. So did Maegan, and by His grace, so will we.