READ: Zechariah 1, John 16, 1 Peter 5
HELPING GOD ON HIS TERMS
Jesus is so annoyingly persistent. The satisfactions of God are so much more exhaustive than ours; they cost us more to attain and they satisfy us more deeply once we find them, once they find us. We humans have a fairly low bar for ourselves. We are pretty pleased when we serve God, are used by Him, speak His words, build His Church, and generally make ourselves available to the divine will. God accepts these offerings but is not satisfied with performance or help and continues to go after our hearts. Zechariah relays to us God’s thoughts: “I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped but with evil intent” (Zech. 1:15). It is not enough to help God from a place of ease–it must cost us something. It is not enough to help God for our own reasons–we must share His motives.
Helping God’s Way Requires God’s Commitment. Revival movements tend to start, or at least flourish, among the poor. The poor are more cognizant of their need for help. Redemption lifts us. We stop sinning and wasting time and money. We start honoring God with tithes and offerings. Then God opens the windows of heaven and we are blessed. We may not become rich–Jesus stayed fairly poor all His life as did most of the apostles–but our needs are met. Over time, Christians generally prosper and move from giving sacrificially to giving out of surplus. It does not take long for followers of Jesus to be content to help God from their ease. Jesus is not satisfied with that. He insists we do not live at ease but we live at war. Jesus is angry with the nations (and churches) that live at ease when peoples of earth perish under the crushing oppression and deceit of the devil. Helping God’s way demands that we constantly give more (time, love, resources) than we are comfortable with.
Helping God’s Way Requires God’s Motives. We should not confuse God’s tools with God’s friends. God called Cyrus His anointed one, His hammer. History is replete with men and armies God used for His purposes. We cannot allow ourselves to think that God’s employment of us equals His favor or pleasure. God can wield any tool He wants. God is not satisfied with us being a tool. Astonishingly God wants legitimate partnership with us. We can castigate pagan forces for helping God with evil intent and overlook the evil in our own motivations of service. Is it not evil to serve God for recognition? Is it not evil to help God that we might be respected and honored? Is it not evil to help God for the financial security derived from faithful supporters? Helping God’s way demands that we do so sharing His anguish and His joys (John 16:20-22). Helping God’s way requires we share God’s motivations–His redemptive, merciful intent.