“I do this thing for God, not for success in the work, or for happiness in my soul or for anything else. I am here for God.” – A Blossom in the Desert by Lilias Trotter
A few weeks ago in my daily non-fiction reading time I read that quote. It’s gotten under my skin like sand gets into an oyster. It was quite irritating at first, but has become less so as I see that it can help produce something beautiful within me that has lasting value.
At first read, the phrase “here for God” can conjure the image of clocking into a job to gain approval and/or avoid censure from a boss. But in light of the whole of Scripture, it can also bring to mind canceling all of our plans to spend time with someone we love deeply. As I see more of Who the threefold God is and how good and worthy He is, I don’t want to (or want to want to be) anywhere else but “here for God”.
I’ve been asking how the various roles I occupy and the tasks that accompany them might change if I fight to see them as being solely for God and not for personal fulfillment, gaining the approval of others, achieving measurable successes, etc. This is my list. I’d encourage you to make your own and ponder how being in them for God will look.
- Church member
- Sidewalk counselor at the abortion clinic
As I’ve been considering this, I have thought a good bit about Nehemiah and his life work and example of steadfastness. It’s pretty clear that God produced and sustained a God-devoted heart in him.
In last week’s post we saw that his immediate reaction to the news of Jerusalem being in a shambles was crying out to God to show mercy and show love to Israel according to His promise. As the book continues we see him emboldened to ask King Artexerxes for resources to rebuild the wall, which was a pretty risky ask.
Then, because it’ll be safer for everyone if rebuilding Jerusalem stays a secret for as long as possible, he’s out in the middle of the night riding around inspecting the wall. He even had to go by foot at points and when his animal couldn’t get through a space. He didn’t tell anyone what he was doing until afterward he had done it, so he wasn’t in it for the kudos.
Then the verbal and physical threats and attacks from Sanballat & company start and continue to intensify throughout the construction project. Because renovation projects aren’t hard enough without people trying to kill you.
For those of us who have been or are currently at a difficult job, that’s when most people have already updated their resume and not looking back. Even though he could have demanded tax money and all kinds of perks as governor, he didn’t. He led well, fearing God first and foremost. This made him a really great governor and the kind of boss we all wanna have.
So how did he do it? Throughout his account, both to his countrymen and to us, he shares how he saw God’s protective hand upon him. He’s honest about how he was terrified and weary at various points. He asks God to remember the sacrifices he’s made, showing that his hope isn’t found in the earthly Jerusalem or a human ruler but in an eternal city that’s coming and its eternal King (Hebrews 11).
Brothers and sisters, may we be here for God. Come what may. We can be certain that the end reward will be infinitely superior to anything this world has to offer.
“There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:8