I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last - and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2
As God’s co- workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you .” a I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.
One of the phrases and prayers we often say as Christians is: "God, I just want you to use me." We speak of people being "mightily used by God" or "making themselves available to be used by God." I have used this language for over 20 years of my Christian walk. I love the sentiment behind it and the attitude of service and availability it conveys. However, just recently, I've began to be a little uncomfortable with this terminology. Here's why.
As humans, we resent 'being used' or even 'feeling used' by anybody. To say that someone 'used' us implies that they don't really care about us as individuals, they simply utilised our time, skills and energy to fulfil a task or do a job they needed completed. We neither feel valued or significant.
Today I don't believe God wants to use me. I believe He longs to partner with me to fulfil the dreams in His heart and mine. I think He desires that I would co-labour with Him for the transformation of our community. He wants to work in me and through me to see His Kingdom come and His will be done. It's not all ME and it's not all HE - it's WE.
We even see this co-operation between earth and heaven in the life of Jesus: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does." (John 5:19-20)
Jesus later tells his disciples: "I no longer call you servants... Instead, I have called you friends...". The main difference between servants and friends is that servants work for someone whereas friends work together. The relationship is just as important as the task, if not more important. In the same passage, Jesus goes on to say: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15: 5). Notice the 'remaining' that leads to fruitfulness is both ways: us in Him and He in us.
Paul also communicated this principle to the church in Corinth: "As God’s co- workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain." (2 Corinthians 6: 1)
Instead of doing things 'for' God or being 'used' by God - why don't we think of it more biblically as working with God, partnering with Jesus, co-labouring with Christ, being led by the Spirit. We're in this together.
Bill Johnson puts it like this: "You are God’s idea, and He longs to see the treasure that is in your heart. As we learn to dream with God we become co-labourers with Him.”
Where might you partner with what God is already doing around you today? Where is He waiting for you to invite Him in to co-labour with you?