International Ministries

I Am Just the Tool

May 12, 2004 Journal

Dear Friends,

I know that it has been a long time since I have written a newsletter.Please forgive me and know that it is not because I haven't wanted to communicate with each of you.As many of you know, I recently had an accident (fell in a hole!) during one of our medical clinics.By the grace of God, I did not need knee surgery but have been unable to walk for one month.This is a true test for me.In the last 5 weeks, I have left my house only 4 times and two of those times were for less than an hour.It is frustrating, but as anyone who is writing me knows, I answer my emails much more quickly now!

I was recently reading a book by Max Lucado entitled, Just Like Jesus, where he said the following:

"We cannot meet every need in the world.We cannot please every person in the world.We cannot satisfy every request in the world.But some of us try.And in the end, we run out of fuel.Have a sane estimate of your abilities and stick to them."

He was referencing the scripture of Romans 12:3: "Have a sane estimate of your capabilities" using the Phillips translation.When I first read this scripture I heard trumpets sound and felt like God had turned on a spotlight over my head!Could he be talking to me?Of course not!I never try to do more than I can!I mean, you guys all know me and know that I am always cool and relaxed and usually looking for something to keep me busy…

Yeah, right!This verse was written for me and I know for a fact, for many of you who are reading this.I believe that Paul was trying to tell us not to spread ourselves too thin so that what we are called to do, we do well.God never told us to do everything perfectly and don't rest until it is all done.At least I don't read that in the Bible.Yet, many of us, myself included, try to live that way.As if there is no chance to do anything tomorrow.I believe in not letting opportunities go by if I have the ability to do something, but I have learned, and continue to re-learn, that I am no good to my calling from God if I'm broken.Broken spiritually, physically, mentally or emotionally.Now don't get me wrong.I believe God uses everyone (broken or not) and I believe I must first be broken inside to receive the healing of God.

The "wasted" brokenness that I'm talking about is when your God-given abilities and gifts no longer work the way God wants them to because you are doing too much.Does that make sense?Have you ever felt that?I know I have.I have, more than once, reached a point where I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning because I was too overwhelmed by all I had set out to do for the day.

So, what do we need to do?Focus.Focus on what is a "sane estimate" of what we can do.Always with God at our side.Always with our eyes (and goals) focused on Him.Always knowing He is the One doing the work and we are only the tools.Always.

This hits home more than ever right now as I sit in my home, sofa-bound, recovering from a knee injury and knowing I leave the Dominican Republic in less than two months.I can't move around well.I can't leave the house much.I can't "do" what I normally do.I have had to turn my work over to the volunteers here as I sit on the sidelines and watch.

Hmmmm.Do you think God may have forced me to turn over "my" work because He knew it would be hard for me to give it away when I leave here.I do.I believe God knew that I would not easily walk away from all that has been built here in La Romana.The organization of work that exists, more often than not.The families on the social service program who I feel are members of my family.My truck, my house, my job.None of which are really mine.They are God's.And they are His to use.I am just the tool.

So, from one tool to another, let me just ask you to re-assess what you are doing with your life.Are you abusing your abilities by doing too much and not keeping a "sane estimate of your capabilities?"Maybe you aren't where God wants you right now and you need to make a move to where He is calling you.Maybe you have gifts that you are hiding because of fear of failure or you aren't sure where to use them.Believe me, if you are willing, there are places for your gifts to be used!

As I begin my year of home assignment, I will be meeting many of you in your churches and in your homes.I am excited about the possibilities that this year brings.Possibilities for new energy in missions.Possibilities for new callings for people to join or start a mission team.Possibilities for focusing on that one thing that God wants us to do, not the million that we feel we have to do.Possibilities.

Love in Christ,

Kristy Engel, RN