By Tony Evans
Your destiny will always involve a test. That test will always be aimed at whether you want to be a blessing or whether you merely want to be blessed.
Because once you reach that test, God uses it to examine your heart.
Are you here for Him?
Are you here for how He can use you for others?
Or is this only about you?
If it’s only about you, that’s selfishness and self-preservation. That’s removing yourself from God’s covenantal covering of favor as you seek to grab as many treasures as you can stuff in your pockets. Doing so, like the fictional character in Aladdin, runs the risk of having you swallowed by the sands of personal gain.
Your value in the kingdom of God is found not in how much good you can get from God, but to what extent you let Him use you for the good of others.
Speaking of sand, sand on a beach is free. You can walk out onto any beach and pick up a handful of sand for free. Pick up as much as you want—sit in it, rub it all around. It’s free.
But that same sand, if you want to put it on a playground, is going to cost you something. You’ve got to go to the store now and buy bags of it in order to cover the surface of the playground. Why? Because it is being used differently. It’s no longer free.
Now, if you want sandpaper to work on a project, that’s going to cost you something as well. It’s still sand, yes. It’s sand glued onto paper. But you’ve got to go to a fix-it-up store and pay for a very small amount of this sand.
While it’s essentially the same free sand, it now has a higher value placed on it due to what its intended use will be and how it has been configured.
When you head into Silicon Valley where people are busy making computer chips with sand, you’ll find an even higher price associated with sand. That’s the most expensive sand you or I will come across. Not because it’s different, but rather because it is used differently.
One of the reasons why God often doesn’t do much with His people is that they aren’t willing to be used by Him. They’re just free sand with no purpose, intention, focus, or skill. They are just hanging out somewhere.
What God is looking for is Silicon Valley Saints—saints who have learned that their value is tied to the extent of their usefulness in His kingdom. What good is a refrigerator that doesn’t keep food cold? Or a stove that won’t heat food up?
I recently had a single-service coffee maker in the kitchen that stopped working. It would make all of the sounds like it should when a cup of coffee was being brewed.
It would light up like it should when a cup of coffee was being brewed. But no matter how long I stood there waiting for the cup of coffee to be poured out, nothing came out at all. You can imagine where this coffee maker wound up (and, no, it wasn’t on the kitchen counter anymore).
The coffee maker’s usefulness determined where and how it was positioned. Likewise, your usefulness to the Lord and His agenda determines the providential pathway He leads you on.
Will you take the goodies and run? Or will you, like a wise businessperson, reinvest the assets of blessings He gives you in order to build a greater opportunity for growth, influence, and impact than ever before?
In Luke 14, God tells us how He feels about useless saints. In using salt as a comparison, Jesus explains,
“Therefore, salt is good; but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty? It isn’t t for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.” (Luke 14:34–35)
Like my coffee maker that could no longer make coffee, saltless salt is “thrown out.” A kingdom orientation must accompany and inform all that you do or you, too, will become useless for the kingdom.
God established His domain in such a way that His agenda exists to bring Him glory and expand His rule. We have each been called to the kingdom for such a purpose as this. When we shy away from this purpose out of selfishness, greed, or apathy, we cause ourselves to be useless for His kingdom.
TONY EVANS (@DrTonyEvans) is the pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and a best-selling author of over 100 books, including his most recent book, Pathways, from which this article was excerpted with permission of B&H Publishing.