“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12
I spent 2 months in Brazil in 1988. It was an amazing experience and one that I would not change for anything. My Brazil time was physically hard and emotionally exciting. It made me a better person by opening my eyes to the world and giving me a bigger perspective on the beauty of the people in it. This trip was one part spiritual adventure and another part the answer to the question that I was asked over and over in my youth. “What are you going to do for God?”
Today, as I raise my daughters, I have steered away from the secular question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and it’s church counterpart “What are you going to do for God?”. Honestly, these questions have never set well with me.
As Christians, our lives are not about figuring out what we want to be or do for God. I believe, our lives please God when we are responding in love to what he places in and before us. We don’t need to search for things to do for him or to try to dream up ways to please him. We don’t need to create ministries or start movements to fulfill our role as followers of Jesus. We just need to respond to God.
As the book of Romans states, we take the ordinary stuff of life and place it before God as our love-gift-response. We give him our chaotic morning routines, lunches at work, carpooling, kids sporting events, phone calls, Pandora Channels and our internet time. We offer it all to him as a beautiful expression of our love for him, obedience, and our desire for him to transform it all into the sacred.
Mission trips and service days are great for working out our love for others. It goes all wonky though, when we start doing it to either earn our salvation or God’s love-which is impossible. We also cause ourselves grief when we start keeping score-mentioning it to God later when we want something or are sure that he’s forgotten us in some way. This is when doing things for God should be a don’t.
The Christian life is much more simple than we want to believe it to be. Jesus himself boiled it down to loving God and loving others. God often puts in front of us beautiful service opportunities so that we will develop well-formed maturity . He also places passions in us for the things he is specifically calling us to respond to. These things are not birthed from our own compulsion to do something for God, but they are God directed and allow us to respond to him and participate in his work.
Today, instead of doing, doing, doing for God, let’s , fix [our] attention on God. [We’ll] be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from [us], and quickly respond to it.