Before you were born I set you apart
It is an honor and a privilege to be called by God to a task. He never makes a mistake when he makes an assignment. He knew us and already had plans for our lives before we were born. He said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV84).
God gave to Jeremiah gifts and talents in line with God's purposes. He appointed Jeremiah as a prophet, knowing that he was best suited for that responsibility. The same applies to all His children; each of us has an assignment and the equipping to do a fine job for His glory. Let’s not be mistaken. We are just vessels; God is doing His work through us.
When we answer God’s call, we need to be attentive and watchful so that we don’t miss any of the details. God never gives all the details at the outset. He unfolds them bit by bit, as we go along.
One day God called Moses to go to Egypt and free the Israelite people from slavery. There was no mention of the Egyptians changing their minds later, and there was no mention of the Red Sea. Moses did not know ahead of time that he would never enter the Promised Land. He received instructions in bits and pieces, at the right time. Staying in close contact with God and following His directions is the best way to fulfill our assignments.
We should be careful not to assume anything about our assignments, not even outcomes, because only God knows those details. Our interpretations of situations could be very different from the way they look from God’s point of view.
After the Israelites defeated Jericho, Joshua, the army commander, and his men assumed that defeating the next city, Ai, would be a piece of cake. After all, Ai was a smaller city than Jericho. But it was not to be. They were sadly defeated and deeply disappointed. Their assumption did not pay off! Something had gone terribly wrong. There was secret sin in the Israeli camp. They had no idea that one of them, Achan, had disobeyed God’s command designating the plunder of Jericho for Himself. Believing that neither God nor anyone else would ever know, Achan had stolen and hidden objects he had removed from Jericho. God was displeased. (See Joshua 7:1-13)
When things go wrong with your assignment, which they often do, don’t quit! Look to God for encouragement and persevere. The devil likes nothing better than to see you fail, give up, or be discouraged. The apostle Paul faced numerous trials and suffering during his ministry. Even some Christians turned their backs on him from time to time, but he did not quit. He took comfort in the Lord’s support! In his second letter to Timothy, Paul stated, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.… But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Timothy 4:16-17 NIV84). If you ever get to a point of discouragement with your assignment, please don’t quit. Call on God!
Don’t get proud when things go well, because God hates pride. Instead, be happy and thankful, and remember to give God the glory. After all, He was really the One doing the work through you. King Uzziah of Judah is a good example. He walked faithfully with the Lord for years, but toward the end of his reign, he was unfortunately struck with leprosy because of pride. Scripture puts it this way, “After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall” (2 Chronicles 26:16 NIV84). Pride is a horrible thing. God hates it. Fear it, and avoid it at all costs. It does lead to destruction (See Proverbs 8:13, 16:18).
Have you been given an assignment? Have you started? If not, when do you plan to start? Whatever the assignment, it was prepared in advance for you to do (See Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Don’t drag your feet, and don’t waste time. The experience will be so much more enjoyable if you act obediently and promptly. If you are considering dragging it out, you can read the book of Jonah to figure out the possible outcome.
With our assignments come blessings, if we remain diligent and faithful. May the Lord find us working diligently with nothing to be ashamed of when He returns, be it morning, noon, or night.