Yesterday we talked about Cassie Bernall, one of the martyrs of Columbine High School.
What if God were to ask you, directly, "Please accept a horrible and frightening death, for Me. Please?"
Would you do it? I'll bet you would. (I, on the other hand, would probably say, "Uh, could I finish something first? I need about, oh, thirty years and I'll be ready for You!")
But what if he asked something even harder than that?
What if He said, "I've come so that you can have joy, and that your joy will be full!"
Yep. That's what He said. Being fed to the lions is a whole lot easier.
What He wants is that you're happy in your life, with the gifts He gave you, and all He wants beyond that is that you're living in the world for Him.
Maybe you have a gift for...oh, say, bowling. "Big whoop," you say. "Bowling?" Not exactly being a missionary among headhunters, eh? (Well, some leagues I've been in, maybe not so different...)
But as long as you're clear in your loyalty, bowling's the gift He gave you. He wants you to enjoy that gift, and He'll make your enjoyment serve His purpose.
You do your part - have fun - and He'll do His. It's as simple as that.
All you have to do is play the game, literally. You don't need to yell Hosanna! after every strike, or sit with an open Bible between throws, pestering all and sundry to repent. Just be a good sport, be thankful when you win, be thankful when you lose.
In other words, live your gift as a Christian.
And what good will that do? How many souls will you save?
You'll never know. But God will, and your trust in Him, your faith that your joy is a part of His work in this world...that's your gift to Him.
And it's your work for Him.
You can't count the fallen sparrows. He can. And when some beer-soaked bruiser who terrifies the pins into meekly falling, merely by showing up...when she looks at you quizzically, wondering how you can smile after your team got thumped, and then one day goes home and picks up the Bible out of curiosity (after learning to read, of course)...God sees that.
And He shouts for joy.