If you’ve had a conversation with me any time in the last couple of months, you probably know that I have abolition (i.e., the fight against modern-day slavery) strongly on my heart right now. If you read this blog regularly, you have probably heard me talk about interceding for the oppressed and speaking for the voiceless. I would identify myself as an abolitionist not only in sentiment, but also in my aspiration of fighting slavery through long-term ministry of some form. Needless to say, it’s a compelling interest of mine.
The other day, I found myself staring at the ceiling, praying in my heart about this very thing.
“God, how am I supposed to start being an abolitionist?” I listed a variety of obstacles that would doubtless be “roadblocks” in the proposed journey.
Start by praying.
“Oh, I already pray. I get up at ungodly hours to pray. Everyone prays. I need something –”
Visible? (There’s nothing quite like when God finishes your sentences for you.)
I had to admit, that was sort of the idea.
What if all I call you to do is pray? Would you still want to be an abolitionist if no one knew you were one?
It was one of the most convicting questions I’ve ever sensed the Lord asking me, and I’ve been pondering it for a few days now. Would I join in the Lord’s work without hesitation if my name were not attached to it? Which matters more to me: pursuing truth and justice or being known for pursuing truth and justice?
Pride is the enemy of servanthood, but sometimes we tell ourselves we’re entitled to it by joining in the Lord’s work. I.e., I’ve got great intentions, I should be recognized for them. I’m young and ambitious, people should listen to me. My aspirations are so selfless and godly, people should applaud me. These sentiments sound profoundly self-absorbed on paper, but they pervade our thinking far too often.
Being recognized for demonstrating servanthood is not wrong (in fact, we need to be intentional in encouraging one another), but demonstrating servanthood in order to be recognized misses the point of service. To be committed to a calling, we must have a change of heart. A vision beyond the external. A willingness to give. An understanding that we are one of many, participants in something greater than ourselves. A heart for the continued good of others.
The truth is, we are all called to serve the Lord in capacities for which we are not recognized. The Lord sees the beauty of prayers prayed in silence, gifts given in secret, and mercy extended to the thankless. They are all precious to Him.
Would you still follow My call if no one knew? Will you still follow My call when no one knows?
I pray the answer is always “yes.”