Waiting for a Blaze of Usefulness

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“A missionary plods through the first year or two, thinking that things will be different when he speaks the language.  He is baffled to find, frequently, that they are not.  He is stripped of all that may be called “romance.”  Life has fallen more or less into a pattern.  Day follows day in unbroken succession.  There are no crisis, no mass conversions, sometimes not even one or two to whom he can point and say: ‘There is a transformed life.  If I had not come, he would never have known Christ.”

These are the words of Roger Youderian as he struggled with his role as a missionary just a few short weeks before he committed to Operation Auca and lost his life at the end of a spear with Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and the other men.

We are tools.  Missionaries are just tools in the hands of the Master.  A lot of what we give our daily lives to is nothing more than positioning.  We are just waiting in a position to be used.  It’s our job just to be available for the Master whenever and wherever he needs us.  He should be able to set his hand right down and find us ready and waiting to be used.  And that readiness is unromantic, un-dramatic, daily and boring.

But when the Master reaches for his tool and finds it exactly where he placed it, ready to be used… BAM!!… Look at the dramatic impact the tool can make in one moment.  One hit of the hammer, one strike of the match.  One moment of usefulness leads to generations of brilliance!  This man and his companion missionaries went to their deaths in a blaze of usefulness!  They were matches lying in the box, waiting for the one strike that would set them aflame.  Who had ever heard of them before they died?  No one, but hundreds, maybe thousands of young people heard of their deaths and felt called by God to go into full time service.  Workers sent out, tools now positioned and available to be used whenever the Master has need.

If you have children you very likely know the quote from the movie Toy Story were Woody tells the other toys, “Com’on Guys, it doesn’t matter how much we’re played with.  All the matters is that we’re there for Andy when he needs us.  That’s what we’re here for.”  That’s what our true mission is:  to be available for God when he needs us.  Which might mean a lot of waiting in the bottom of the toy box or the matchbox or the toolbox.  Waiting for when the Master has need of us.

2 responses »

  1. Great word as usual. This is a word, I believe not only missionaries, but all servants and saints of God should hear. For so often, the willing of heart imagine (grandiose maybe), that they will hit the ground running and make a rapid assent to glorious and spectacular use and impact, but more often find themselves just as you described; in the bottom of the toy box, the match box, and tool box. And that’s not very glamours nor visibly useful – let alone “a blaze of usefulness”.

    Thanks for the great reminder. Your honest and open assessment of this matter fans my coals, and reminds me that readiness is the key.

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