If I would give this post another title, it would be ‘Nothing but Pencils’
In my 3rd year as an undergraduate student, I formed for myself a signature which pretty much became what I was referred to as by friends. The signature was : ‘God’s pen’. Somehow, I just came to the realization that I was an instrument in God’s hands and that there was nothing he wouldn’t do through me if I was totally surrendered to him- like a pen in the hands of a ready writer. I even started a book then which I titled, ‘The Creator and the Pen’…(More about that much later). The idea however was this, I made up my mind to surrender my giftings to God so he could use it in anyway he wanted to. That was 2012.
In 2015, a Man of God in Plateau state whose authority I had submitted to, asked whether I could turn his messages into devotionals. I replied in the affirmative because I had gathered enough experience working in the media unit at my church where I was involved in transforming messages first into weekly publications, and now, yearly magazines. So, this Pastor whom I respected (still respect) so deeply, gave me some messages to test my ability (to put it that way). When I submitted the work to him, he was simply blown away! He kept saying then, ‘You are such a gift’, myself on the other hand was just grateful to use my gift for God’s work.
The Sunday the first devotional was dedicated, I burst into tears. I remember just kneeling down and thanking God for finding me worthy. That was the first month. By the second month, we had agreed to make the devotional bi-monthly to save cost and I was under a whole lot of pressure- I still had office work to do, I still had a magazine to publish, and I still had my work as an online reporter for The Scoop Ng. A lot of things began to kick in- Initially I started getting angry at every slightest provocation, then I began to feel some resentment towards the work- the devotional because it was time- consuming, then it graduated and I began to feel resentment towards the fact that I wasn’t being acknowledged in the devotional.
Long story short, flesh began to kick in. People began to mock me even. Those days I used to cry to God to help my flesh and restore the joy I had of being used by him. I remember that the pressure of the work even affected my fellowship time with God or rather I wasn’t wise about it- I used the work to substitute my fellowship time with God, and trust me, this even affected my efficiency in doing the work. Long story short, I got as far as 5 months working on that devotional, and then I stopped. Not because I was asked to, but because I felt that unwilling service is no service at all.
In retrospect however, I’m beginning to see that my experience holds some very important lessons. I’ll share them:
1. Never allow the work you do for God come in the way of your fellowship with God. This happened to me, and can be explained for the reason my flesh took over. Nothing, absolutely nothing can compare to the peace, love and satisfaction you get from spending time with God. In his presence, we are filled and then we have what to give out. When my fellowship stopped, resentment came in because I was giving out more than I was taking in. So, its important, be you a service leader, a choir master, an editor etc to never substitute service to God for fellowship with him.
2. Your service to God should be love inspired, love motivated and love controlled. Your service to God should not be pastor inspired, pastor motivated or pastor controlled. Love for God, for his kingdom, for people should fuel us to work.
3. Understand that you are not indispensable, not ireplaceable and every opportunity you have to be a blessing is a blessing. Bishop David Oyedepo has said countless times, ‘God told me he has a replacement incase I mess up’ (paraphrased). So I stopped editing the devotional, yes, but did its publication end with me? No! God’s work can never be frustrated.
4. Your service to God gives you strong reasons. You know, for the period I worked as the Editor and even months after you, that service was my strong reason whenever I went to God in prayers on an issue. The scripture said we should present our reasons…Hezekiah presented his and 15 years was added unto his life. Who am I not to present strong reasons? 🙂
5. You must remain in the spirit to overcome the desires of the flesh. Doing work for God sometimes may be hectic, you may even have to carry out an assignment in unpleasant conditions. Its necessary therefore, to ensure you stay in the spirit. The flesh likes comfort, likes to relax, does not like stress. Trust me, you can’t effectively serve God on those terms.
These are some of the lessons that I learnt, there are a lot others which I may share in time. Till then, I’ll leave this quote with you, “We are nothing but pencils in the hands of the creator”.
Thanks for reading.
Good morning to you.