When it comes to serving the Lord, our anxieties loom large when we forget that we haven’t been personally called to every good work on the planet. Our Lord is the captain of the ship. We are the deck hands, ready to serve at the task to which he calls each of us. (Yes, if you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I’m borrowing Max Lucado’s wonderful analogy.)
What an awful mess would result if every deck hand attempted to handle every task on board! Suppose, in the middle of swabbing the deck, one of the hands was to see that potatoes need peeling? Should he drop his mop and run to the galley? Or, being a red-blooded, “I can do six things at once” American deck hand, maybe he should try to mop and peel at the same time! Most likely he will continue mopping, convinced that he’s a miserable failure as he worries himself sick about those potatoes.
What do all those worthless reactions say about the deck hand’s faith in the captain? Perhaps the anxious swabbie is thinking, “He’s forgotten about those potatoes, and we shall have no supper! He’s made a mistake, and it’s up to me to fix it.” This all sounds farfetched when put in the context of a captain and his crew, but we do the same thing with our Lord when we worry about those undone tasks we see around us as we work. Our responsibility is simply to do the work our Master has given us and nothing more, doing our best, and leaving the results to the Lord.
Leaving the results to the Lord… there’s the tricky part! As a good friend of mind said recently, “I’m pretty good at giving things to the Lord, but then I oh so often take them back again.” We’ve got to choose to give up our proud control of the lives we lead, to admit that we are tools in God’s hands, and not the other way around. If the work is his, then so is the responsibility for the results. He can manage it all.