Partnering with God

Spring is a fantastic time of year. The air warms. The birds are out in song. Different types of wildflowers take their turn cycling through gorgeous colors. Even a good long rainstorm can’t stop the sun from lengthening the days. Some of us get the chance to finally thaw out from feeling perpetually chilled since November. (I’m looking at you, Drew and Janet.) Spring means daylight reigns again over night. Warmth wins over the cold. And new life conquers the dead of winter. But one of the best things about spring is that we don’t do anything to make it happen. Once a year, with some degree of predictability, the Good Lord sees fit to finally pull the curtain closed on winter and pave the way for flowers, beautiful weather and a little extra rainfall. And we have no say in the matter. We need only to enjoy the change of seasons.

God may prefer to handle the coming of spring by himself, but he does invite us to participate in other work he is up to in the world. There’s proclamation of good news, the ministry of reconciliation, service as kingdom ambassadors, and a host of other callings that go by less “churchy” titles. What an honor for God to invite us into these huge works!

But they are still his works. Sometimes in ministry or in service or just in life, we can put a lot of weight on ourselves regarding “progress.” Have you noticed that we particularly do this when the “progress” or “success” of our work depends on the decisions of other people? If she isn't changing her habits, I must not be doing enough. This group hasn't made any progress towards our goals, so I just need to try harder.

How much responsibility is right to put on ourselves? If God has given us a work to share in, can we hold ourselves accountable for his share of the labor? Now, if you’re not doing your part, you should get your act together. And working with God takes constant reevaluation to make sure you're still working on the same project. But no one understands better than the Lord that people can be slow to change and groups of people even more so. We must do what we can and leave the rest to God. Or as my mentor Randy Harris put it, “When you’re asleep, the world is in better hands.”

So if you find yourself partnering with God and not being thrilled with the results, make sure you two are working on the same thing. And then remember that, like the beginning of spring, the Lord will bring about his resurrection in his own good time.