How to know what God wants from you.

by Kevin on May 18, 2010

I put the shotgun up to my shoulder and looked down the barrel at the dove that was flying from my left to the right. It wasn’t a shot that would have been that hard, but I followed it just like my Granddad Jim had taught me. I led the bird with what I thought was the right distance and tried to squeeze the trigger instead of jerking it.

The shot just didn’t seem right. It seemed with each heartbeat, I was either too far in front or too far behind. My breathing caused my aim to go high and then drop back down too low. Finally, I just pulled the gun down from my shoulder and shook my head.

“What happened?” he asked me. I told him I wasn’t sure, but that I was pretty sure that I would have missed that bird if I pulled the trigger.

“You were exactly right, son. No shot will ever be perfect, but you will miss every time unless you pull the trigger.”

These words were probably the greatest lesson I learned from my Grandfather. Not a single person would have ever remembered the shot that I missed, but I have always remembered the shot that I didn’t take.

Most people are afraid of failure. They don’t do things because they don’t want to deal with the failure if they mess up. I heard a great statement the other day. God’s grace can cover every failure, but it does not cover passiveness.

What is passiveness? It’s existing without active or concerted effort.cowboy church sleeping

One of the best known miracles that Jesus performed was the feeding of the 5,000 that is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus starts out by asking a rhetorical question. He asks Phillip, “Where are we going to get enough food to feed all these people?”

Don’t you just love it when Jesus asks you rhetorical questions? How many times has he said to you, “I wonder if this person goes to church or even knows who I am?” When Jesus breaks out the rhetorical, he is really telling you to get ready, he wants you to do something besides being passive.

After Jesus asked Phillip the question, he then provided all the disciples would need to feed the 5,000 (actually, that is just the count of the men–not women and children). Jesus had all those people sit down on the ground and the disciples served them the fish and bread. Jesus didn’t have them come by like a Luby’s Cafeteria buffet and pick their own fish and bread. He had the disciples feed them.

When everyone had eaten their fill, Jesus sends the boys back out to gather up the leftovers. Sometimes Jesus is going to ask you to do something that might require that you leave your lazy-boy passive comfort zone.

Being passive is worse than failing. If you fail at something, that means that you actually tried.

The top three things that we are passive in as a church today.

  1. Sharing Jesus with others – We do a pretty good job at inviting our friends and others to church on Sunday. But what Jesus wants us to do even more is to tell someone how He has changed your life. When we simply invite someone to church, we are basically telling them that they have to come to a building at a certain time to hear how God can save them. You don’t have to get all theological and meta-physical on people. Just say something like, “You know, since I gave my life to God, I have found a purpose for my life and I no longer have many of the fears and worries I used to have. God wants you to experience this same kind of freedom.”
  2. God hasn’t told me what he wants me to do yet – Yes he has. He has told you that he wants you to go out and make disciples of all men and all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey what he has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). How do we do that? Get involved. Step out. Saddle up. Tell someone about Jesus. Just do something besides sit there and think that God must have been talking to everyone else except you.
  3. I’m not good at anything – Yes you are. We are all good at something. When people say that, they are basically saying, “I’m not willing to do what I enjoy for God.” If you like to talk-talk to people about God. If you like to fix things-fix something at church or volunteer to help someone that has something that needs fixing. If you like to cook-cook something and bring it to church or someone in need. If you like rope-organize a roping for God. If you like to watch movies-get a movie night together for the church and invite some people. The key to happiness is doing something you love and doing it for God.

Because of passiveness, we watch the lost and hurting fly by just like that dove. Quit being afraid of failure, God’s got that covered. But he’s not going to make you do anything–that something is all up to you.

It’s time that you pulled the trigger.

What are some other ways that we can avoid being passive?

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  • I have failed to take a lot of shots for Jesus when He gave me the opportunity. But I hear Jesus saying, quit fretting over the missed shots, untaken shots, and bad shots–trust in Me and keep shooting. I like that you gave several examples of ways we could serve. Sometimes God might just let us to what we love to do. When we do it for Jesus, He might just use it to change someone else’s life. –Richard

    • Kevin

      I don’t think we should fret over missed shots. We all have those. It’s when we choose to think that it’s someone else’s job to take those shots that we need to re-evaluate what we are doing.

      And I really do believe that God let’s us do things that we enjoy for Him. Or at least he uses these things as a spring board to get us to other places of service.

  • I think all of us have used the excuse, “God hasn’t told me what to do.” Great reminder that he has. That is good preaching material. I will probably steal (I mean borrow) it for a sermon down the road.

    I emphatically agree that God uses what we enjoy to grow his kingdom. God uses our preferences, our personality, and opportunities to spread his message. I think more people would stay longer in ministries if the would find or create ministries that was a natural extension of who they are.

    • Kevin

      Get after it!! Steal it. Use it. Change it. Pass it on. Whatever you need…..but if you preach it, record it so I can listen to it.

  • I think the biggest key to avoid passivity is to remember that service is not an onerous task. We can serve Him by doing those things we love and because we love doing it, we’re always looking for opportunities to step out and do it.
    At the same time there’s a huge catch-22 here. Because we love doing something, we want to do it right, or we want to get it perfect, and while I’m all for keeping high standards, it can easily multiply our fear of failure. Thanks for that great line about failure though, “Gods grace can over any failure.” Awesome!

    • Kevin

      You’re exactly right Sage. I have never once thought to myself, “Well crap, here comes Danny…He’ll want to talk about God.”

      If someone wants to step out and see what a blessing it is working for God, they could just start by praying for your upcoming trip.

  • good post.
    stop being lazy, rather be confidant that God is with you and trust him.
    What makes me hesitate, though, is the question; is this really something that God cares about, then I think of the stock answer to that; God is more concerned about your relationship with Him than what you are doing, but I want to know what I am doing is pleasing to God.. It is easy to know what is not, not always what is.
    I like what Rick Warren said about God just enjoying you being you.

    • Kevin

      I think the key to that question you ask God is valid, but to me, it all comes down to your motive. I think God will back nearly anything you do, as long as you are doing it out of the love for Him.

      The other side of your comment is also valid. God most certainly wants His relationship with us to be strong. I think that some people are “over” doers and don’t take the time to just sit back and get to know God. But I think the vast majority fall into the “He must be talking to someone in Matthew 28” group.

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