God Grant us a Willingness to Serve
Back in the nineties, when trendy churches projected their songs’ words onto a screen by means of an overhead projector, I was approached by the secretary of Bridge Street Church in Leeds. The regular projectionist was delayed, and they needed someone to arrange and project the acetates. None of us wanted to do it, so we stared at our feet and waited for her to go away. She ended up doing it herself. That night, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my laziness. I had been offered the opportunity to serve and had been found wanting.
Esther, Queen of Persia, was offered the opportunity and challenge to save the lives of all the Jews. She was thus challenged by Mordecai:
Esther4:14: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
His point is that God’s plans for deliverance will unfold regardless of Esther’s willingness to help; if she refuses, God will simply raise up another.
Similarly, in 1 Samuel 14, King Saul is relaxing under a tree with 400 warriors, allowing the enemy to go unchallenged. It is Jonathan, his son, and a sole companion who leave his camp to take on the enemy:
Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armourbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armourbearer killed them. 14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.
15 And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 16 Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Now call the roll and see who has gone from us.” And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there.
Jonathan did Saul’s job for him. Saul was called by God to deliver Israel, but apparently refused or preferred the comfort of the tree. So the glory went to another. The question is, what does the Lord call you to do? Are you willing to serve and obey, or will you sit back while God finds someone better?
I went home that night and prayed about my failure to serve. I asked for the opportunity to make up for it. Two weeks later it was announced from the pulpit that they were seeking someone to project the words twice each Sunday, permanently. I did it for the next 2-3 years. God will always use a willing servant.