READ: Job 28-30, Psalm 9, John 2, Revelation 10
Jesus is not needy. He doesn’t need me or my service. He does not even need my witness. John puts it this way: “[Jesus] had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25). My testimony does not improve or disparage God’s character. He is who He is regardless of me. He existed before me, before any man, and the actions or inactions of man have no effect whatsoever on God’s character. God does not need our approval, He does not even need our worship. He does not need the worship of the nations. God is not more fulfilled when the peoples praise Him. God has been eternally satisfied in Himself, He doesn’t need our flimsy praise–but He ordains and commands it.
Command Before Call. The fact that God does not need our help in no way undermines human involvement in mission. We are commanded to go into all the world and bear witness of Jesus. God’s command precedes His call. In our individualized world, we have placed great importance on a personal call. What is more important is our obedience. God has given orders, and “call” simply provides the clarification. Paul was commanded to bear witness to the Gentiles before he was invited over to Macedonia. Calling can be twisted into an excuse for doing what we want where we want it. Obedience is primary.
Call Before Character. Once we have settled it forever that God has our unquestioned obedience, we are yielded and flexible to be deployed and redeployed as He sees fit. God may assign us to the home front, the supply lines. He may ask us to pioneer or to administer. He may move us around freely. This understanding of calling is a collective one. God uses us as He deems best. God often gives this clarification even before we have the character necessary to comply. It is not that God casts around for men and women of integrity and then selects them (remember, He knows what is in humanity, and it is not pretty). God appoints us and then through the process molds us into His image (shapes His character in us).
Character Before Competence. Many approach missions service with a resume in hand. God smiles politely and sets our natural gifts aside until character is formed in us. God does not waste our natural abilities, but astonishingly they are the least important variable in the process. Before we can excel in our gifting, we must glow with His nature. God really can use anyone in mission, both the genius and the simpleton, and every one in between. There are one talent and five talent laborers, and the number of talents is not the point.
We are not needed. We are commanded. Upon our compliance we are given clarity (call). After our call God goes to work on our character. After we are deconstructed and constructed again, God adds His anointing to our competencies and we are at last suitable to be His tools.