A couple weeks ago, a student came into my office wanting to meet with me. I had talked with his mom beforehand, and she said that he hadn’t been himself. He is usually an energetic and outgoing kid, but he had been acting really depressed. I’m not a licensed counselor, and I was worried that this was beyond my capabilities. I will never turn down an opportunity to meet with one of my students and offer any sort help that I can.
After catching up with him on how his Christmas went, I decided that it was time to get down to business. I asked him, “How are you feeling? Your parents are concerned for you.” His answer amazed me. He said, “I’m feeling really down because I don’t think that I’m doing enough for God.” I felt instant relief because I knew that this was a situation that I could handle.
There was also a bit of pride that crept into my heart when I heard him say that. I have known this student for a little over a year and was with him the day that he accepted Christ. He has been one of my most faithful students since the first time he came to youth. In that one statement, I saw where his heart was. He wanted to be doing more for God. That’s the heart that we should all have. However, he was beating himself up because he didn’t feel that he was living up to the expectations that Jesus has for his followers.
I realized that he needed to be encouraged. Exhortation, which is a synonym for encouragement, is a gift of the spirit that doesn’t come naturally for me. Serving, teaching, and leadership are my strong suits. I have worked to become more encouraging, but it’s something that I have to conscientiously do. Here was an opportunity that God gifted me to build up this student.
After our conversation I prayed for the student and sent him on his way. He walked out feeling better (he has since returned to his old, joyful self). I then leaned back in my chair and praised God for the encounter. Then I started thinking about how much I needed to hear the very words that I spoke to that student. My heart needed that same encouragement because I often wonder and worry if I’m doing enough for Christ.
Do you have that same struggle? Do you think that you’re not doing enough? You call yourself a Christian but are you really living into the title of Disciple of Christ? I am confident that it’s a thought that we all have from time to time. I am going to do my best to do the same thing for you that I did for my student, encourage you.
I’m going to start off by telling you that you’re not good enough, none of us are. How’s that for encouragement? Romans 3:10-12 says (quoting from several Psalms), “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” When we stand upon our own righteousness, we come up empty every time. That’s where the beauty of the cross comes in, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) While none of us are worthy of God’s love, He gives it to us freely even to the point of sending His son to die for us. If we do nothing to earn that love, how can we do anything to lose that love? Rest in the fact that God loves you because He’s a loving God. It’s not about what you do but about who He is.
Are you doing enough for God? That’s a tough one to answer because we always end up going with no. No matter how hard we work, there’s perpetually more to do. There are constantly people who are in need, hungry, need to be prayed for, need to hear the Gospel, need to be loved, etc. Like Christ said in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” That means that there is a lot of work for each of us to be doing. As we see this world continuously descend into darkness, we see more need to go share the light of Christ. How can you ever feel like you’re doing enough when there’s always more to do?
That’s where we need to trust God. We can work ourselves to death and seemingly only make a dent in this world. All that each of us can do is live out the calling that God has placed on your heart and do it to the best of our abilities. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
That is the mentality of how we should all be living out our calling. Wherever God has placed you, share His love and light to the best of your ability. That’s all we can do.
If you’re still wondering at the end of the day if you’ve done enough for God, I’ll offer you the same encouragement that I get when I workout. I do workouts through a Youtube channel called HASFit. At some point in every session, they say, “No matter how well you did in this workout you’ve lapped everybody sitting on the couch.” There are plenty of people who claim the name of Christ but never enter the fields to work. I’m not advocating that we start comparing ourselves to others, the disciples got in trouble for that in Mark 9: 33-37. However, if you’re doing all that you can, then you’re making an impact on this world and are doing what God desires of you.
We can get ourselves in trouble if we focus too much on our works and not enough on our relationship with Christ. This was the exact issue that arose when Jesus was with Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. It’s not about doing enough; it’s about being in that relationship with Jesus. God has prepared “good works” for you to do (Ephesians 2:9) but those are made to flow out of our relationship with Christ, not to be the relationship.
Take heart, dear Christian. You are a beloved child of God, not because of anything that you do but because of everything that Christ did for you. Do everything you can to live out your salvation, and daily enter those harvest fields. If you do that, then you can be assured that when you lay your head down at night, your heavenly father is saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)