Ready to Go, Ready to Stay
“Ready to go, ready to stay. Ready thy will to do. Ready for service lowly or great…” The song takes me back to a classroom years ago where I sat at a cramped desk, an eager 10th grader.
My teacher looked over the class of twenty-five students. “Which would be harder for you? Ready to go or ready to stay?”
I thought about it for a moment before I raised my hand. “Ready to stay.” It wasn’t that difficult for me to figure out. I always wanted to be at the center of the action, trying new things, moving on to different adventures. If the Lord asked, I was definitely ready to go. After devouring a plethora of missionary stories, I felt the possibilities were endless… Brazil, Ghana, China, anywhere.
But not everyone answers the same. Some would find it harder to be ready to go. They are the steady ones, cheerfully filling their place year after year, content where God has placed them. They come on board after the “ready to go-ers” have started the work, and settle in for the long haul, carrying visions to fruition.
No matter our natural bent, we have a higher purpose to consider: What does God want for me? Does God want me to be content where I am? Does God want to push me away from everything I know to teach me greater dependence on Him? When faced with a new venture or a call from the church, when a friend or church leader suggests we become involved in a ministry, both groups of people need to ask, “God, what would you have me to do?”
David the Shepherd was a “ready to go” person. “Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine,” he said. Saul told him, “Go, and the Lord be with thee.” David went and won a great victory for Israel. Later in life, David wanted to build a temple for God. It seemed like a good idea—Nathan the prophet gave his blessing. But it was not God’s will for David to build it. Instead, David needed to be content to make preparations so that his son could successfully build the temple.
Moses was a “ready to stay” person. When God asked him to lead his people out of Egypt, his first thought was, “No, I’m not qualified! I’m not anyone great—I can’t even speak well!” But he obeyed God’s call and went.
When the call comes, “Can you be hostess Sunday?” “Could you teach the women’s Sunday school class for me?” “Could you help to organize the sewing circle?” or on a larger scale, “Will your family move to the new outreach?” “Could you open your home to a hurting teenager?” “Will you move to a foreign country?” the first response of the “ready to go” people may be, “Here am I. Send me!” without considering first, “What is God’s will?” The “ready to go” woman may find her life overcrowded with only her second-best left to give to her first calling, her husband and family.
The “ready to stay” woman’s first response may be, “My house isn’t clean enough for company,” “I don’t know how to teach,” “There are others who could do it much better.” She misses out on the blessings she will receive if she fully puts her trust in God and allows Him to use her, no matter what the condition of her home or her perceived talents.
Whether you are a “ready to go” woman or a “ready to stay” woman, God will not ask more of you than you can handle. Sometimes it is more than we think we can handle, but if God is in it, He will give us the grace and strength. Maybe something as small as the ability to smile and welcome the unexpected guest when there are still dirty dishes on the table. Maybe the strength to not have an emotional breakdown when several little people are already pulling at your skirt and a new baby joins the family. Maybe the inspiration to start a Bible study with some neighborhood teenage girls. Maybe the joy to volunteer in an old people’s home.
Develop the habit of saying yes to God. That will not look the same for everyone. For some, it will mean limiting activities to be able to minister well to the things God has already called them to. For others, it will mean opening their mind to new ideas and areas of service. For all, it will mean finding joy and purpose as we follow His will.