There’s a phrase God share with me that was life changing: “When I ask ‘what do I owe you?’ they would say ‘just do the same for someone else.’” Have you ever heard that statement before?
These words are not a common response from people. Our society is built on payment for services rendered system. So when you ask, “What do I owe you?” a dollar amount is usually attached.
However, this is not true for God. When God asks us to do something as His children, there is not payment, nor can we expect acknowledgment for our part, big or small. When God gives us an assignment, He expects us to do them out of love and faithfulness to Him. Sometimes, His assignments are uncomfortable. His assignment may be nothing like what we’ve done before. But He is God! When we are obedient to His call, He rewards in ways we can’t image.
Often we don’t know why He’s asking us to do something. Being faithful in the task is important because we never know how our obedience may be paying it forward for someone else. We never may now how the assignment God has given us impacts someone else. That’s why the words “just do the same for someone else.” may sound ordinary to you, but they have an unforgettable sound in my heart because of how God prepared people for the assignment He gave me.
Before I tell you about my assignment, I want to tell you about a book titled “The Magnificent Obsession.” It was written by Lloyd C. Douglas, who wrote several books of which one is “The Robe.” Both books became movies with a different spin. Lloyd C. Douglas was a minister, and he based “The Magnificent Obsession” on Matthew 6:1-4. Let me set the stage using The Message version of the passage:
Matthew 6:1-4The Message (MSG)
The World Is Not a Stage
6 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4“When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
The book “The Magnificent Obsession” is about a known playboy’s life which is saved at the expense of the life of an eccentric, but adored, surgeon. The carefree playboy is forced to reevaluate his own path. The playboy embarks on a course of anonymous philanthropy, inspired by reading the doctor’s private papers.
The plot of the book was for the playboy to secretly do good deeds, thereby reaping spiritual power which he used to become an excellent doctor.
The lesson is that good deeds received are not to be paid back to the doer of the deed, but to a person who would need it in the future.
And I was a person in need when God laid out my assignment.
In April of 1996, a friend suggested I write a book about sexual assault because her niece had been sexually assaulted on a college campus. Even though the young lady went to her church for help, they were not equipped to help her.
My response to the request was, “not me!” Though I was reading and researching various topics due to my own past abuse, writing a book was not an ambition, desire, dream, or anything I wanted to do. But God has a way of equipping you when he calls you to something you’re not comfortable with. He has an endless supply of necessary items for any task, purpose, or assignment. By being obedient to God, I was about to experience Him in a way I never had before as I took on the assignment.
When I heard the church wasn’t equipped to help the young college student, the idea of helping would not go away. I started asking questions about what material was available to the church and found the resources were limited. I did a lot of research, but wasn’t yet convinced I was the one to take on this assignment of writing a book on sexual assault. I learned to not challenge God because you will not get the answer you want! I told God in prayer was if I was to write a book, I couldn’t do it by myself, and I needed a title. One night the title, “And He Restoreth My Soul” came to me so audibly I awakened out of a sound sleep. I sat up in my bed and said, “Okay. I give!”
However, I knew absolutely nothing about writing a book. Actually, I figured God was confused and must be having a mental breakdown! Regardless of what I knew, I had to start somewhere if I was to complete the task for which God called me. The preparation for this assignment seemed endless. Yet, He sent the people I needed. Countless professionals from the mental health industry, the faith community, and various agencies came my way. Recommendations came from many people. God provided survivors who would write their own story. I even found myself in conversation with legal professionals who specialized in Intellectual Property Law.
What amazed me in the process was that I heard the same words time after time, “When I ask ‘what do I owe you?’ they would say ‘just do the same for someone else.’” I knew those words were from God, and it brought comfort to obey them.
In 2010, “And He Restoreth My Soul,” a resource anthology, was published with information contributed by over thirty people involved at some level of experience with sexual abuse or assault. You can find out more information about this project at http://www.andherestorethmysoulproject.org
God selfishly wants to position the unselfish for great moments in life. Great moments that will cause us to stand in awe of God. When we are willing to “do the same for someone else,” we open the door to the true essence of service. Service that can become a Magnificent Obsession—being faithful to the assignment He’s given us, and being in position to receive His reward.
Are you willing to do that?
Posted in: Darlene Speaking From the Heart, Resources