Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
“Don’t whine, but shine” is a phrase coined by motivational speaker, David Ring. Audiences from around the world have gathered to hear him speak. Are they drawn because of his rugged, good looks? No. Is it his polished elocution with which he presents his message? Hardly. You see David was born with cerebral palsy. His appearance makes it obvious that he has some challenges. And one has to listen closely to catch what he is trying to convey. He may have disabilities that some may write off. But when he surrendered his life to Christ, he found his place in this world.
In 2013 my husband and I served on a mission team in the beautiful state of Vermont. It’s where we met Stan and Carol. They have a unique and anointed ministry. Stan has been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. Carol, his devoted wife, has battled unseen difficulties of her own. But together they fit beautifully.
Each month Stan dictates a letter and Carol transcribes. This letter is copied many times and given to church members at the small Baptist church in Manchester Center, Vermont, where they are members. They mail them out as well. We are the fortunate recipients of a copy. I have kept each one.
Their letters are always timely and encouraging. But the last letter we received was a little different. The salutation wasn’t the generic “Dear Friends” but to us personally. The handwritten message resonated what my discouraged husband needed to hear. It spoke to my heart as well. Stan and Carol have found their place in this world.
God’s Word is chocked full of folks who found their place in this world. Some, we don’t know their names. For example, the woman at the well who witnessed to a whole village about her encounter with the Messiah. Fortunately, we will meet them in Heaven. And what they did for God mattered and so did they.
But what about those whose names with which we are familiar? Let’s take a glance at their contributions:
Moses—tried to use his speech impediment as a disqualifier to be used of God—Exodus 4: 9-17. The entire book of Exodus chronicles the ups and downs of how God used Moses.
Rahab—a woman with a reputation. She was used to protect two spies (Joshua 2). Her name is listed in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11:31.
Gideon—seemed to be scared of his own shadow. Yet God called him a “mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:11-18).
David—He was overlooked at first by Samuel because he wasn’t what Samuel pictured as “king material” (1 Samuel 16).
Mary—was probably in her teens when God used her as the vessel to carry His Son (Luke 2:26-38).
John Mark—suffered from homesickness (Acts 15:36-41).
I’m sure you may have your own list of those who found their place in this world and were used by God in mighty ways. Make a list and do a search to see how God used them in spite of disabilities, shortcomings, etc.
Now, think of yourself. Have you found your place? Are you struggling? I do at times myself. Then I’m gently reminded by my Heavenly Father that it’s not about me. What we need to realize is that He places opportunities before us every day to simply serve Him.
So, send those cards. Pray for and with friends and family. Bake and take those cookies to a new mom or your neighbor. Say yes to teaching the four-year-old Sunday School class. Use your creative talents to decorate the tables for the women’s event at your church. Open your home for a Bible study. Join the choir. Find your place in this world.
Heavenly Father, I am yours! Use me any way You see fit. May I put myself aside and trust You to direct my path. Help me not to miss the opportunities You send my way! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!