Read His Words Before Ours!
“I am here to work hard for His Kingdom,” she said, as sunbeams seeped through the porch roof and onto her face.
I stopped and let her simple, yet powerful, words resonate in my soul. I looked around at my surroundings, the simple church with the tin roof sat in the distance, and mountains surrounded the little house we were staying in. I could hear the cooks speaking in their mother tongue through the screen door and the smell of the cooking cabbage wafted out towards us.
“I am here to work hard for His Kingdom.”
I thought of the many times that I haven’t worked hard for his Kingdom, times I only gave 50% and only tried enough to make me look good. Here was a woman, just recently married, who had given up everything in the United States to move to Kenya with her husband. They came with one broad goal: to teach Africans about Jesus. And they committed to doing so, even when it was incredibly hard. I watched her fight through sickness and exhaustion to bring the Good News to anyone she could.
She and her husband had been given the gift of teaching, so they taught. One day, we loaded up in an old Range Rover to venture on a journey that was over an hour away. We drove up a steep mountain, through some rough terrain, and picked up a few women who were carrying water to their homes before stopping at a hut to let me out to meet a family that I was told to visit with and pray for. She and her husband continued on the road to a little church where over 30 women were waiting for them. When my visit ended, two hours later, I was taken to the church, where I watched her teach these women about Jesus. The women listened intently, several shushing and rocking babies as they learned. She spoke first, then the translator would speak, and this lasted for over four hours.
Yet, she didn’t stop.
I truly believe that if this woman’s feet started bleeding while she spoke, she would continue to speak and share Jesus’ love. She would work hard for His Kingdom, even when it was incredibly difficult.
I would venture to say that standing in front of those thirty women for over six hours, wasn’t necessarily fun. Her voice was probably tired by the time she got done speaking, and her legs were probably sore from hours of standing and pacing the stage.
But the Lord had given her the gift of teaching. And so she taught. Even when it wasn’t fun. Even when it was incredibly difficult.
I don’t remember if there were any women who came to know the Lord when she was done. But I am sure that there have been times that she hasn’t gotten to see immediate results from her hard work. But she has always persisted. Even when she could’ve been discouraged.
Jesus called her to it. And He will carry her through it.
In John 21:11, we read about Jesus providing fish for his disciples after they spent the entire night trying to catch fish.
Imagine this: You are exhausted. You just stayed up the entire night casting out a net and pulling it back in, just trying to catch some fish. Your arms ache from the constant motion of throwing and pulling the net through the water. Your eyes are starting to feel a bit sandy and dry while they fight the soreness that comes with being open for too long. The sun begins to rise in the distance, and you can see the steam coming off the lake, while the sun reflects onto the waters. The sight is beautiful and seems to give you just enough energy to start heading towards shore. When, suddenly, you see a man in the distance waving his arms and yelling, “Did you catch anything?” A slight frustration sets in, as you look around at your very empty boat, and your stomach rumbles a reply before you can. You muster up enough energy to yell back, “No!” He waves and yells back, “Throw the nets on the right side of the boat! You’ll find some!” You look at your friends, with a slight look of exasperation, but figure that you might as well try. With a heave and a ho, you toss the net to the right of the boat and begin to pull it back in, simply to prove to this man that his idea is pretty worthless. But to your surprise, the net doesn’t just pull back in! It is heavy with fish! You and all of your friends run to the edge of the boat and begin bringing in the net full of fish, pulling with all of your might. The exhaustion is gone and adrenaline has set in. It is in that very moment you realize… that man on the shore… that’s Jesus!
Sometimes we don’t work hard for His Kingdom. Sometimes, we only give 50%. We know we are called to do something, and we begin trying hard, but we get tired and weary. Our eyes begin to feel a little dry and we start to lose focus. But I am here to tell you… if Jesus calls you to something, He will give you the strength to pull you through! Jesus called His disciples to cast their nets onto the other side. And when they did, He gave them and their nets the strength to pull all the way through.
Working hard for His Kingdom by living out the gifts He has given us, isn’t always going to be easy or fun. Sometimes, we aren’t even going to feel passionate about it. But we are called to work hard for Him… no matter how we feel, no matter the results we are or are not seeing, no matter the discouragement. If we do that, He WILL give us the strength to pull through and complete the task he has given us.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!