My husband and I have spent the past few winters serving our God full time. We became missionary carpenters and have learned a great deal about what full-time service to God really means.
What, you make ask, is a missionary carpenter? That’s an easy question for me to answer. My husband had been a full-time carpenter in the building trade before he retired. As retirement grew closer, we dreamed of giving back to God of the talents He had entrusted to Ken. (Read the story in Matthew 25: 14-30 of the parable of the Talents to better understand our thoughts.) A missionary is someone who carries the Good News and when combined with carpentry skills, you’re called Missionary Carpenters. God called us to Texas to serve.
If you have wanted to serve as a missionary, I hope you will. But do so without any expectations or desires because one to the first lessons we learned along the way was anything we thought we knew to expect or were desiring to see happen didn’t. Any desires we had changed to become God’s desires He promised us in Psalm 37:4:
“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Here are a few more things we’ve learned along the way:
2) Don’t limit God to where, what, how, when or to whom you will serve. We’ve learned God has a purpose for all of us, so let Him show you what it is, then, and don’t place a limit on that purpose.
3) Retirement isn’t a right we have because of our age. We’ve heard excuses from those nearing or in retirement years as to why they can’t serve: Body aches, family, too old. too tired, Grandchildren, etc. But believe me when I say, these, including the grandkids, are only excuses.
4) God uses gifts He’s already given you. God will, or has already supplied, every gift (talent) you need to serve Him and others in the future. Trust Him.
5) Offer any of your gifts (talents) to God and watch how He will use those to bless others. It is amazing how something, a hobby or habit, anything you think of as insignificant, can be used by God to bless others.
What sounds logical to you, God hears as excuses! Stop the excuses!
6) Giving and serving must be done with open hands. If you expect something to come back to you, it isn’t a gift, it is a business transaction. You must be ready to walk away happily knowing you serve a big God.
7) Serve with no expectations from people. When you set yourself to expect a certain outcome from someone or a group of people and the otucome isn’t what you expected, disappointment can be a downer. Trust God and know everything you do is for Him.
8) Try doing something for God, even if you feel you have no talents, gifts or ability. By showing God and others a willingness to try something, God will give you Grace and accept anything you offer Him as an act of service.
9) Living on faith is not easy all the time. Faith is a step beyond trust…and trust isn’t always easy either.
10) Find enjoyment in your service. It’s hard to imagine scrubbing toilets as a fun job, but it can be. It’s hard to imagine swinging a hammer on a hot roof in the harsh sun as fun, but it is with the right attitude.
11) Let God tell you where or whom you will serve. Listen, He will speak, quietly at times, and at other times, through people and prayer. It can be frustrating to not know where you will be serving, but trust God.
12) Keep your eyes on Jesus. It can be frustrating at times to do the same job over and over, or the work is hot, heavy, and your body becomes achy, or people disappoint you…by keeping your eyes on Jesus, none of it will matter.
13) Serve an audience of One…the Only One. Do not be concerned who is watching to cheer or jeer, just serve Jesus and never take your eyes from Him.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, He is all that matters!
14) There will always be people who will neither appreciate nor understand your sacrifice. These may be family members, friends or new friends you meet along the way. Serve anyway!
15) There will always be people that will never understand your “Why” for your service. Serve anyway!
16) There will be people that will not trust your service or ability. These people may have been hurt in the past by others that have promised and not followed through or people who have come before you and done shoddy workmanship. Stay the course God has set before you and trust Him to know what is best.
17) People may want more than you are willing or able to give. Do not allow these folks to force you to do more, put false guilt on you, or try to detour you from God’s plans.
18) God will always provide the tools needed to complete the task He has called you to do. Whether these tools are physical tools for erecting a building or soul-tools for bulding up another soul, God will supply your needs.
19) God will pour out His blessings on His true servants. Look for blessings, expect the blessings and thank Him for the blessings, because blessings will be there and these blessings are endless in supply.
Serve an audience of One- The Only One!
20) God will form the relationships. He has chosen your path. He will put the correct people in our path at the correct time. Our job is to be ready and available when God calls.
21) God has never failed us as we strive to serve Him to the best of our ability.
22) Be encouraged! If you are considering entering full time service to the Lord, consider all the disappointments, distractions, disagreements. Do what God says in His Word, “count the cost.”
23) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously! Remember to have fun along the journey, enjoy the sights, love your new friends and family.
24) And last but not least…Do not be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good!” This is an old quote but a good quote. Remember, you too were once an unsaved sinner. God loves us and accepts us all, right where we are. We are not judges, we are servants!!
So, the very last thing I would like to encourage you with wasn’t learned on the mission field. This lesson started for us ten years ago as we started praying together each morning. Our prayer was always the same,
“God, use us, wherever, with whomever, whenever and however You desire. We are Yours and desire to serve You and You alone. Amen”
Now, I pray, you will willingly pray the same prayer. God has given you everything you need to fully serve Him and His people. I look forward to hearing from you how our Good God is asking you to serve. What talents or gifts as He already given you for His service? Leave a comment below, let us all know.