I spent a lot of my Christian life feeling guilty over what I am not doing in the kingdom of God. It’s not that I am not committed to Jesus, living a sacrificial life, or intensely busy for the kingdom. I am—but there is just always so much more to be done, and sometimes I feel as if the needs of the world are crushing me.
I’ve found that many, if not most, committed Christians feel the same way. They’ve been told to be radical, full of “crazy love,” followers of Jesus rather than fans—and these are all true and needed messages. And yet many of us, after a really zealous start, end up down a radical path, feeling paralyzed by the weight of it all. So we toggle between summers of feverish activity and winters of guilt and fatigue.
We read Jesus’ words about the yoke being easy and the burden light, and we genuinely have no idea what he’s talking about. Discipleship feels like drudgery. I’ve counseled many of these weary believers in college groups and pastors’ circles, on the mission field, and in my office.
And as I said, I used to be one of them myself. No matter what I gave, there was always more that was needed. One more child to free from the sex trade . . . one more unreached people group to target . . . one more person to tell about Jesus!
The burden of such a conviction nearly crushed me. My despair drove me to the Scriptures, and that despair eventually gave way to one of the most surprising insights I’ve ever had, one that has radically redefined how I see my service to Christ. This discovery turned drudgery and guilt into freedom and joy, and perhaps, ironically, has led to more generous living than any resolve to “be radical” ever did.
Let me warn you, it’s completely counter-intuitive. Brace yourself! Here it is:
God doesn’t need you!
It turns out I had vastly overestimated what I had to contribute. I didn’t have “more” I needed to give; I actually had nothing God needed to begin with. Nothing.
God is not now, nor has he ever looked, for “helpers” to assist him in saving the world. That doesn’t mean he isn’t calling us to give ourselves generously to that mission or be sacrificially generous with our neighbors; it’s just that he’s not looking for people to supply his needs. He’s not short on money, talent, or time. He has never commanded us to go save the world for him; he calls us to follow him as he saves the world through us.
God’s call to radical generosity begins with good news that he doesn’t need us!
So instead of asking the question, “What needs to be done in the world?” we must ask, “What is the Spirit of God leading me to do?” Just like Jesus told his apostles to wait on the coming of the Holy Spirit before they went out to the world, we are to look to the Holy Spirit for his direction in what God would have us do.
But what does that leadership look like? And how do we know when he’s speaking to us?
This is an excerpt from Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You. Order your copy here today!