Updated Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 23, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Being Used by God in a Way Not Intended”
1 Cor. 12:11 (NIV)
“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
I had no idea why the students were laughing so hard while I was lecturing for a week at a seminary in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2005. Sitting in the class was the school’s interim director and whenever I called him by his name, “Oliver,” what came out instead was “Altivez.” Had I known what that word meant, I wouldn’t have used it, but only later, did I discover its meaning: “arrogance.” During the break, one student told me that I must be a prophet for calling the interim director, “Mr. Arrogance.” Of course, I had no way to verify stories that several students told me about his antics, but they all felt that God was using me to rebuke their leader. To this day, I don’t know what to think about that.
We want to be used by God, perhaps according to our preferences. For instance, I would’ve preferred that the seminarians thought of me as God’s servant who delivered great lectures instead of someone whose slip of the tongue was supposedly used to call out a proud person. But no one gets to choose how they get to serve the Lord, because God has already distributed appropriate gifts to each believer to buttress their ministry and/or calling. For every “Peter” whose lone sermon netted 3,000 converts (Acts 2:41), there is a “Stephen” whose sermon was so offensive to his hearers, that they stoned him (Acts 7:52-8). Jeremiah, so stricken by people’s rejection of him on account of his gloomy message, once cried out, saying, “O LORD, you deceived me. . . . Everyone mocks me. . . . Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction” (Jer. 20:7-8). The prophet, however, continued with his unpopular message until the end.
What would you like to do for the Lord? That, of course, is a wrong question. Our job is to simply obey God’s particular calling in our lives: some may become popular while others remain in anonymity. God is not asking us to be stars, but that “those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).
Prayer: Lord, it would be enough that you have saved me from going to hell, but how much more blessing it is that you also want to use me. But Lord, my narcissistic nature and the worldly influence upon me often compromise my motivation and I end up wanting something more than You. Forgive me and help me to be satisfied only in You.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 8:9-10, 14-21 (NIV): Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.”14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”
Questions to Consider
1. What attracted Simon to the ministry of Peter and John?
2. What made Simon’s request so unacceptable to God (i.e., a heart that is not right before God)?
3. What would you prefer to do in order to serve the Lord? What should be our proper attitude toward the Lord when it comes to serving Him?
1. Apparently, Simon, who was used to receiving accolades from people, was more impressed by the power that Peter and John possessed than the fact that people were being blessed. What he wanted to get from the apostles was actually a good thing, but his motive was wrong.
2. It wasn’t acceptable because his only concern was to elevate his status among people; it was neither to glorify God nor to help people. In short, “serving God” was the means to another end, which was hearing people say, “You are the Great Power of God.”
3. Our proper attitude should always be: Not my will, but Your will be done. (When my attempt to get a teaching position at a seminary in 1999 didn’t pan out, I was nudged in becoming a missionary to Mexico.)
In looking back to today, in what ways did God use you today? Did you have opportunities but didn’t take them? It’s not too late. Offer up a prayer on behalf of someone with great needs right now.