God doesn’t need us. Never once has God required our involvement to address one of his problems. God has never been stressed out by any situation. He has never frantically paced the halls of heaven gathering an angelic poll on what to do or how to do it. The Lord of hosts has never once attempted to recruit and remained anxious about the results.
God may appreciate our efforts, but he has never once relied upon our efforts. Instead of allowing that truth to discourage you, it should solidify you.
God doesn’t need you, but he wants you.
Take Esther for example. She was a fair damsel who caught the eye of a pagan king. He had just rid himself of his previous obstinate wife (Esth. 2:1) and was holding a beauty contest to determine his next lucky yet endangered partner (Esth. 2:2). As an exiled Jewish woman living in an idolatrous land, she had to play it safe regarding her people and her religion. Even as Esther became his queen, she was acutely aware of the possible peril if she upset the dynamics in her new family and how it could impact her kinsmen who were spread throughout the kingdom.
She played it safe until her Uncle Mordecai made known to her a plot to kill all the Jewish people (Esth. 4:1). Many people recount his speech and explain that Esther came to the kingdom for “such a time as this.” Since she had this position and had the power to stop this massacre, she seemed to be the savior of the people. It was evident that her placement was providential. If it weren’t for Esther, what would the people have done?
If you look at the entire phrase, you see exactly what the people would have done. Nothing. They would have done absolutely zilch. They would have anticipated the Independent God to do what only he could do. How could they envision putting their trust in a mere person? Mordecai spells it out clearly. “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise from the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth. 4:14).
Did you catch it? Esther wasn’t the savior. God wasn’t dependent upon her. If she failed to play her role, someone else would step in and take over. Relief and deliverance would come from the Jews from any other potential candidate that God saw fit. Why? Because God planned to keep the Jews alive, and no person was critical enough to jeopardize his foreordained outcome.
He was going to bless all the nations of the world through this people (Gen. 12:3; Isa. 49:6), and God’s purposes could not and would not be thwarted (Isa. 14:27; Job 42:2). The Israelites had no danger of perishing due to the promised one who was coming. God’s plan would go forward with or without Esther. Her position near a temporal throne had been installed by the one on the eternal throne. He was not short on options if she failed to do what she had been called to do.
God didn’t need Esther, but he wanted Esther. In all honesty, I think there is more beauty in that truth than in the alternative. If God needed me or anyone else, he immediately ceases to be God and fear would instantaneously arrest my soul. But to grasp that God is not dependent upon any of us yet chooses to use us is a humbling truth of which I pray I never grow weary of rehearsing in my mind. God doesn’t need me, but he wants me. God isn’t dependent upon me, but he is invested in me. God isn’t lacking, yet he is still inviting. He doesn’t need my skills for the task at hand, but he would like me to follow him to work anyway.
God is not needy. He is not dependent. The universe will continue the previously planned operational schedule with or without any of us. We can join him on the frontlines or watch him from the nosebleeds. He isn’t anxious as he awaits our willingness to be involved. And yet, we are invited. Oh, what glorious wonder!
God’s invitation never comes out of desperation.
He is independent, yet he wants to include us. The fact that God is devoid of need and yet includes us anyway should cause us to stand in awe.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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