Working with, not for God – that’s our call

Someone once commented, with reference to my career, that “I work for God”.

I didn’t give it a lot of thought at the time, but in retrospect I considered the statement both true and false.

It’s true that as an ordained minister I work for God. It’s false in that “working for God” doesn’t adequately address the joy and intimacy of Christian service.

To begin with, to work for someone suggests an employer-employee relationship, whereas I enjoy a father-son relationship.

As Christians, we’ve been adopted, not hired and as such we enjoy not company benefits, but family privileges. Romans 8:15 explains that a Christian’s relationship to God “…does not make us slaves again…” but “…adopted children of God…we cry out, ‘Dear Father.’”

Another expression occasionally used for those who serve the Lord is that of a “hand in glove” arrangement.

This implies that the animate controls the inanimate; a hand is alive and the glove is merely manipulated by the hand. In reality the Christian life is hand in hand.

Granted, it is a small weak hand being held by a large strong one. But it is hand in hand up to and through the “…valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4).

Christian service could be described as walking hand in hand and working with, not for God. This is known by some as “Divine-Human Cooperation”.

Simply stated this means that God, in rather parental fashion, does not do for us what we can do for ourselves, but will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

There are many examples of the divine human cooperative in the scriptures. For example, when Jesus performed His first miracle in John 4, He turned the water into wine.

That is something that those present couldn’t do. But, He first commanded that containers filled with water be brought to Him; that was something they could do.

At an even more profound level, man cannot deal with his sin and guilt problem. So God sent His Son as a sacrifice to make payment for sin. Man could not manage this on his own so God did it for him.

Man, on the other hand, does have the ability to believe in and accept the finished work of Christ.

And God will neither force anyone to make this decision or make it for them.

So…I do work for God. However, I delight in the fact that I have the daily joy and privilege of working with Him as we walk hand in hand.

“I will be a Father to you…you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church