“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4, NKJV)
A friend of mine recently left to take the gospel to another nation. It was not a sudden decision at all. From the teen years on, we all recognized that missionary work was in his future. So why is he just now going more than a decade later? Two key words: preparation and timing. He spent those intervening years preparing himself, developing his ministry, and doing whatever he could in his local church. He stayed busy while waiting for God’s perfect timing.
Whether we feel called to travel thousands of miles to fulfill God’s call or will serve Him in our local community, Ecclesiastes 9:10 should be a key verse in our lives.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (NKJV)
A pastor friend told of a young man in his church who felt he was “called to preach.” Yet when the pastor asked him to help clean up the grounds after a church picnic, the man thought trash duty was beneath him. He wasn’t willing to do the “whatever” that was in front of him.
You may feel God has called you to a certain type of ministry, but until that door opens, keep busy doing whatever is in front of you now. Perhaps God is waiting to see how wisely and faithfully you use your time during this waiting period.
In other words, we need to work while we wait!
I recently read a quote from Thomas Carlyle that seems to reflect the words of Ecclesiastes 9:10.
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
What do you see before you? Is there a need in your local church that you can fill? It may be something as unglamorous as cleaning out the Sunday school supply closet or sanitizing the toys in the nursery. Perhaps you can send thinking-of-you cards to shut-ins. Or vacuum the church. We just need to stay busy until God opens other doors.
When we read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, we notice that the master did not entrust each servant with the same amount of money. “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability” (verse 15). He knew what each man was capable of handling. However, he did expect the same diligence by each man. The servant with one talent excused himself by saying, “I was afraid and hid your money.” The master was not pleased and handed his one talent to the man who now had ten talents.
God may not give us the same calling or the same abilities as others, but He expects each of us to respond with willingness and dependability. The more we show ourselves faithful in the small things, the more God will be willing to trust us with bigger responsibilities. We must do whatever our hands find to do.
Ephesians 5:16 tells us to redeem the time because of the evil days in which we live. The New Living Translation says to “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” If you are in the wait and prepare season of your ministry, you still must work while the sun is shining. Do what is in front of you now.
The days are evil, and it will soon be dark. Seize every opportunity to do kingdom work today.
Lord, open my eyes to the possibilities around me. Help me to prove myself faithful in the small things and to give my time to whatever my hands find to do. I know that I must be patient and prepare myself for whatever area of service You have for me. Help me to be open to whatever opportunities You have placed before me.