January 17, 2017
We Don't Work for God
Post by Brittany Tedesco
"I want to praise God and share some great news with you," wrote the leader of an indigenous ministry we assist in Turkey. He continually visits Syrian refugees in a tent camp filled with disease, heartbreak, and need. Sometimes, after a hard rain, the camp fills with water. Without a place to even sit down inside of their tents, refugees stand for days on end.
I don't know how the leader can stand it. . .how he can keep going to that camp without his heart breaking.
He's not a robot. His heart probably breaks a million times over—with each conversation and each encounter with extreme suffering. But he's willing to let his heart be broken, knowing that God will take care of him because God is using him.
"After many long talks and by the grace of God, five family members have accepted Jesus as Savior in their lives," he wrote. "The oldest man, his wife and his three children accepted Jesus."
Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God, explains a fundamental principle that many Christians miss, myself included. He posed the question: "What is a servant?"
Someone who works for God, right?
Wrong. We don't work for God. God works through us.
If we don't understand this, the fruit of our Christian lives will be extremely limited. Why? Because everything we do will depend on us—on our human capacity.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5 NIV).
The ministry leader is collecting used baby clothes from church members for the refugees. He's provided half the camp with heaters, but reports that at least 400 tents are without heat.
"When the people see us walking in the camps, they come to us and beg us for baby formula, diapers, and wood to warm up," he wrote. "The physical help we provide with your help makes a spiritual difference."
His report continues:
"On one visit, an old man invited us into his tent. We didn't know that he would give us the great news that he and his family wanted to be followers of Christ. So when we sat down, he started to cry, and I hugged him and asked, 'Uncle, what is going on. . .is everything ok?'
"He responded, 'I noticed that you are the one who keeps coming and talking with us, and asking how we were doing at least every two to three weeks, then you kept bringing us heaters and wood for winter, baby formula and diapers for our children. And you are doing this without asking anything from us to do anything for you. One day, I was in a discussion in my tent about Jesus with my family. We said to each other that, here we are in an Islamic country, but no one is coming to ask how we are doing, if we are okay...You are the ones who keep your word, and keep helping us and coming to listen to our sad stories all the time. So we decided to read the Bible every day, and we prayed to Jesus to open our hearts and eyes to understand your words and love.'
"So Jesus did it and now they are believers like we are! He and his family wanted to pass their thanks to you all who have been helping them all the time."
Jesus did it.
Thank you for letting Him work through you, along with this ministry leader, to accomplish His purposes among the Syrian people.