Same God, different directions?

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking lately…about all kinds of things, but mainly about how it is that God has different tasks for each of us.  Awhile back, a young friend returned to the US after a two-year stint as a teacher in Malawi.  She talked about it one night at church and one of the things that she said really stuck with me.  She said that she had started out saying “yes” to God in the small things and over time that led her to an easy decision to say “yes” in the larger ones.

Her recounting of her time in Malawi was followed by another young woman in our church who had much the same reaction and spoke of her recent time of mission work in African orphanages.  I sat in my pew thinking about my friend who was leaving to teach in Rwanda and another one who was leaving for a two week teaching-mission trip in another far corner of the world.  I couldn’t help but compare their tasks to the ones God seemed to be giving me lately.

While their tasks seemed large and important–glamorous, almost–in their scope, my path seemed to be narrowing.  In fact, I had been feeling the need to disengage from some of the commitments I have made on the local level here at home.  I couldn’t help but wonder why.  I mean, honestly, I don’t feel the least bit called to do a stint overseas, but compared to writing a blog about seeing God in the everyday things—like the really gorgeous cardinal that is currently hopping around on the colorful cushions outside while looking in my window—well, you can see the differences in the tasks for yourself.  Mine just didn’t seem to be as important.

All around me I see people who are busy doing God’s work in large and amazing ways while I feel called to the quiet ones.  I’m not by nature an envious person, but I must admit that I felt a tiny bit jealous at the magnitude of the tasks with which they were being entrusted.

And then I realized something:  while our locations are miles and miles apart, our directions aren’t really that different at all.  We’re all called to love God and love the people He puts in our path regardless of the landscape or location.  Additionally, there are people here at home who need to see God at work in those of us who stay here just as much as those people my friends will meet in their far-away locations and they all need to know that He loves them…and that means we all really do have the same mission, after all.

I share this today because I know I’m not the only one out there who may have been questioning the direction God seems to be sending you.  Of course it is best to be sure that you’re really hearing from Him about what you need to do instead of trying to assign yourself your own tasks, but Allison was right:  we all need to learn to say the “yes!” to God…regardless of the size of our assignment at any given time.

When you say “yes” to God and leave the results up to Him, you actually lighten your load.  I think that’s one of the real meanings behind Matthew 11:28-30,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So, whether your burden for the day is laundry for loved ones or leaving the familiar for the unknown—or somewhere in between!–remember that we serve the same God and say the “yes!” to Him today with a cheerful spirit and a happy heart.  God is in charge and all is well.  He will equip you to rest in Him regardless of the task you are assigned.

(Bonus:  For those who are interested in learning more about Allison’s adventures in Malawi check out her blog at http://www.allisoninmalawi.blogspot.com/  Her honest sharing of both the joys and the difficulties during her teaching mission has given more depth to my prayers for the others I know who are far from home on the mission field.)

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