Wednesday of Week 22 in Ordinary Time
1 Cor 3:1-9
Neither the planter nor the waterer matters: only God, who makes things grow.
Two and a half years ago, I took a good look at my life situation and decided to start my own business. I did it for family and personal circumstances although I honestly didn’t know what that venture would look like. I figured that as I took the time out to care for my family, it would also be a good opportunity to do some soul-searching with God to find out what His purpose was for me.
It was not an easy process. I prayed constantly for God’s guidance, I read several books and took online courses. I did several u-turns, discarding ideas that didn’t work. It was frustrating, like I was running around without a compass and a clock: no direction, no destination and the feeling as though time was running out. There was, however, an idea that quietly kept coming back to me, and I eventually caved and thought, “okay, let’s give it a go”.
The more I delved into it, the more I felt that this was what God wanted me to do. It resonated with me and I knew I was on the right path. Having said that, this was, and still is, a journey not without its challenges. In trying to formulate a business model that would work, I looked at what other similar entrepreneurs were doing. The possibilities were mind-boggling. Did I want to do online courses, Facebook Live, public speaking? How much social media exposure did I need? What form would my product take? How much money could I stand to make? What were the costs if I did this and that? It was so easy to be influenced by what other people were doing out there. I guess the easy way would be to take what has worked for someone, and try to replicate it and make it yours. But easy isn’t always right.
I realized, as I worked my way through my business plan, that not all forms were right for me. Plus, it wouldn’t be me if I had just replicated a system out there just because everyone else was doing it. I needed to carve out what was suitable for my personality and aligned with what God had intended for me because at the end of the day, this was my ‘God-sized dream’, planted in my heart by God. I know that God intended for me to do this, and as I submitted myself to doing His will, I also had to acknowledge that He knew best the path that I should take. Perhaps it may involve being in the spotlight, perhaps it may mean working quietly behind the scenes. I know that whatever form it takes, I don’t have to chase it; it is not the ‘end game’. I need to fix my eye on God, as He is my destination and direction.
St Paul of course knew this. He didn’t want the people to follow a minister of Christ; he wanted people to follow God. Because ultimately, our Father Almighty is our destination and direction. God should be our purpose in all that we do. Is what we are doing giving us the chance to praise and honour Him? Will what we do advance His purpose here on earth for all of us? How are we serving God in our daily work and lives? St Paul wanted the people to realise that he and Apollos, and any other minister who was influential at the time, were just servants of God, mere humans who had had the privilege of being chosen to do God’s work. Even Jesus, Son of God, knew this as featured in today’s Gospel. He could have listened to the people and stayed. And why not? There were so many willing followers and ‘fans’, it would have been so easy to build a base there. But he declined, saying that he had to also go to other towns to proclaim the Good News “because for this purpose I was sent”.
If we fawn or place our faith entirely in God’s servants, then we are placing it in the wrong place. We need to realise that God made that happen, that they are serving Him for His glory, and only He matters at the end. Conversely, if we have been chosen by God to do His work – whatever it may be – we cannot expect fans and followership akin to a celebrity. That is not our purpose. Our purpose is to serve God. Not all of us are meant by God to have the razzmatazz, not all of us are cut out for it. There is nothing wrong with having tons of followers, but it is not right to chase it either, at the expense of God as our figurehead. Without God, we are nothing, but through Him, all things are possible. He is the vine, we are the branches. If we remain in him, we will bear much fruit. “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Coming back to present time, when I look at my brief journey so far, I am quite amazed at how far removed I am from the person that I was before to who I am today. With wisdom of hindsight, I know that this is God’s doing, transforming and molding me to His design, and I look forward to the person that I can and will be in the future with God as my partner. “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we try to find and pursue our God-sized dreams, help us remember that our focus must and should always be on You. Let us have faith in knowing that everything else will fall into place as You intend it to be.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for giving each of us the opportunity to serve You and give you praise and glory in all that we do, every day.