Acts 13:36 says, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay.” God’s calling on our lives is not random, arbitrary or accidental. God’s calling is strategic and designed for a specific time and particular place. It is very possible, or even likely, that we won’t understand God’s plans for our Kingdom service in our lifetime. We are time dimensional creatures, but God is not bound by time or limited by geography in the way he uses us. He is not restricted by industries or networks or relationships.
Early in the 20th century, Gertrude Hobbs was a bright, intelligent young woman with a single ambition—to become secretary to the Prime Minister of England. She set herself to study shorthand and typing (readers under 40: shorthand was a method of rapid writing by means of abbreviations and symbols, used especially for taking dictation). Knowing that many others could take shorthand, she decided to outdistance the field in speed and accuracy. Her mother and older sister took turns reading articles and book selections as Gertrude transcribed them verbatim. Along with speed and accuracy, she also sought understanding. Ultimately, she could take shorthand dictation at the phenomenal rate of 250 words per minute—faster than anyone was likely to speak. Little did she know how God would one day use her unique skill and training.
In 1910, Gertrude married Oswald Chambers and together they pledged their lives to the Lord’s service. For the next seven and one-half years, whenever Oswald preached or taught, or simply shared a devotional with weary soldiers stationed in Egypt, “Biddy” faithfully and fully transcribed every word. In 1917, at the age of 43, Oswald Chambers died suddenly from appendicitis.
The loss was devastating for Gertrude and their little daughter, but God had prepared Mrs. Chambers for the special assignment that occupied the rest of her life. Fifty books of the words God had given Oswald Chambers were published in his name (without ever mentioning her own). More than 13 million copies of My Utmost for His Highest have been sold since 1927, and it remains the top selling, most read devotional book ever written.
Only God could have orchestrated such a plan, many decades before the recording technology now on every handheld phone. As Paul reminded the church in Rome, “. . . we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8: 28). God’s providence is best seen in a rear-view mirror, and we must avoid the temptation to insist that God show us how all the pieces of how our lives fit together to accomplish his plans. Instead, we faithfully live and work each day, in all of the small details, trusting that God is preparing us for tasks that will have eternal ramifications far beyond the achievements of our careers.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Lord, there are days where I feel like I am just going through the motions, wondering if anything I’m doing will really make a difference in the end. Give me the faith in You to live and work with my eyes set on You. Keep me from becoming so preoccupied with my small world that I miss your larger work. Expand my vision for the future of the Kingdom you are building and use me as you will to extend the good news of the gospel to everyone in my sphere.
“Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest