You are more effective than you think.
Let me clarify: if you are centering your life around Jesus and His truth, if you are wanting a larger purpose than breathing air and existing, then you are more effective than you think you are.
How do I know this? Because I believe some of our greatest effectiveness comes in the moments when we’re not aware God is working. More and more, I see that God works in us through those abilities and interests that seem like second nature to us but are the very things He’s given us to minister His love and truth.
One of the best examples of this is the story of Moses. Any good Sunday school kid can tell you how Moses was in the desert one day when he looked over and saw a bush on fire. God was in the bush and He spoke to Moses about going back to Egypt and leading the Israelites out of slavery.
As a good Sunday school kid, I saw my fair share of cartoon Bible bushes. They were always the same: short, round, bare brown branches surrounded by cartoon flames.
But here’s the thing: there’s nothing special about a dead, bare bush on fire. Those are a dime a dozen in a dry place like a desert where lightning strikes are imminent.
So I don’t think that’s what Moses saw. I think what he saw was a green leafy bush on fire. And this makes all the difference, because what it means is that Moses was a noticer.
As a shepherd, he would have been a very, very good noticer. He probably could scan the horizon and see any threat coming. He could probably, without thinking about it, know when a sheep was hurt or missing. All his years spent living in the desert honed his inborn skill of observation. And that’s exactly the skill God used to get his attention and catapult him into great effectiveness.
Exodus 2:3 tells us that when Moses saw the bush, he made a conscious decision to go check it out. His power of observation, his need to protect his flock, and his own inborn curiosity compelled him to, first, notice that something unusual was happening, and second, actually go over and look. God worked within Moses in a way that was perfectly natural to him. So if God did this for Moses, who didn’t even know Him before the bush incident, how much more will He work through us, who seek His face?
One of the reasons I think we don’t always sense God working in us is because most of the time He’s working through our natural giftings and it seems like the most normal thing in the world. It’s so intuitive we don’t notice we’re being effective.
I helped lead a women’s ministry event at which we painted canvases with step-by-step instructions from my artist daughter who was guiding us. Several artistic friends were on hand to offer practical help. The beautiful thing about this was that my daughter and the friends were all operating out of their giftings; art is as natural to them as breathing. I don’t even know how much individual help the friends gave. What struck me most was that just having their competent, supportive presences in the room was the best source of help. They inspired confidence in all of us non-painters. Was God using them? Without a doubt. Were they aware of it? I hope so, but I have a feeling if we asked them about it they’d say, “It was no big deal.” Just like Moses noticing the bush, it felt like no big deal precisely because it was so natural to them.
What are the ways God is working through your life? You might have to think a little bit, because most likely He’s using you precisely in the ways that seem like no big deal – to you.
Yet your “no big deal” is someone else’s very big deal. That word of encouragement you spoke to a friend the other day might have been the thing that got her through a rough patch. That meal you made for the family who needed it. That task at work that no one but you seems able to do. That listening ear. All of these are giftings woven into us by God, folded into the fiber of who we are so that we can impact others.
In the words of that great theologian Dr. Seuss, “No one in the world is you-er than you!” God is working through you, in exactly the ways He’s created you to be, often when you’re the most unaware that anything is happening. Take heart that this is true, and that you will see the fruit of it.