My wife Theresa is always shopping.
Whenever we’re hanging out around downtown Los Gatos, CA, or if we get away for a little weekend to Atlanta, GA, she is always shopping.
But she’s not shopping for herself, she’s actually shopping for our grandkids. It seems like there is a birthday happening every third day in our family. So, wherever we go, she sees something and says, “For this season, this would be perfect for…” and then she’ll name one of the grandkids and tell me why.
She genuinely cares about each child and wants them to have the very thing that would help them be and experience the very best.
God is always “shopping” too…
In other words, God is always on the lookout for people who are prepared to fulfill His will.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
God is always looking! He is looking up and down the aisles in churches across the world. He is looking for men and women who are ready so that He can use them.
And as He uses us, He changes us. And then He meets the needs of the world through us. We become the hands and the feet through which the love of Christ is poured out on the world.
So, how do we become one of those who He uses? In other words, what exactly is the trait God is looking for?
Timothy was a person chosen by God to serve God. What did he bring to the table?
Timothy had studied with the Apostle Paul for about ten years as a young pastor, so Paul was able to attest to his good character. But Timothy had some things stacked against him. His personality was described as timid, he was half Jewish and half Greek, and he was sickly and vulnerable. He wasn’t sharp, powerful, or a graduate of a great university either!
So, why did God choose to use him?
The number one trait he possessed was that he cared!
Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote about him:
I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. (Philippians 2:20-22)
Paul noticed that most people would “seek after their own interest, not those of Christ Jesus,” but Timothy was different. He had “genuine concern” for the welfare of the church and was “of proven worth.”
Paul also described him as being faithful, loyal, and with a servant’s heart. And he was willing and available. When there was a need, he was willing to serve. God saw the trait of caring. And He greatly used Paul.
He ended up being the pastor at the church in Ephesus, which was one of the great churches in all of the New Testament.
How about you – do you want to be used greatly by God?
Begin by asking yourself a few questions, and then spend some time thinking about them:
“Do I care?”
Think about the people you live or work with. Your roommate, your family, your co-workers – do they sense that you care about them? Do your words and actions communicate that you really care?
“Do I have a servant’s heart?”
Do you really care about people to the extent that you would adjust your current schedule, your current rhythm of life as it is today? For a servant, there is no job too low, there is no recognition needed, and there’s no thanks required. Are you OK with that?
“Am I willing and available?”
Many of us do care, but not to the point of genuine willingness to act. We are genuinely willing, but just not available! We’re just too busy. We’re just doing lots of stuff and we’ve assumed all the stuff we’re doing is the most important. But, if there’s no time for God, and there’s no time to serve others for God, then we are just too busy.
God has a trait He wants to see in our lives more than any other. God is looking for ordinary, regular people who care – those who have a servant’s heart and who are willing and available.
To learn more about how we’re to love on another and build relationships that last, check out Chip’s series I Choose Love.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip