How can I be useful to you today?

I have been reading "As Silver Refined - Answers to Life's Disappointments" by Kay Arthur. In chapter 8 "Peace amid the pain" she retells the story of Bruce Olson, the missionary who was captured by South American Marxist guerrillas and help captive for 9 months.

Bruce Olson was held in very poor conditions, in make-shift shelters that offered virtually no protection from the elements: rain, heat or humidity. He was sick with malaria and in a great deal of pain and discomfort. He was tortured and had to witness the deaths and abuse of the other prisoners.

Life was miserable. But regardless, this is what he had to say:

It may seem bizarre to some people, but the truth is that it never once occurred to me that it was God's responsibility to rescue me miraculously from this situation. Instead I believed it was my responsibility to serve Him right where I was. 

What I asked of God from day to day was very simple, very practical, and I suppose quite typical of me; "Father, I'm alive, and I want to use this time constructively. How can I be useful to you today"

How often do we want God to change our situation because we think we have a better idea of what we want or what is best for our families. But what happens if our plans are not God's plan?

Instead of asking God to change your situation, nagging Him, reminding Him that He must have got it wrong — instead ask:

"How can I be useful to you today"

It may be a usefulness in the workplace or at home, on the trip to the supermarket or when picking up your child from school — but wherever you are, ask God to help you use that time constructively and with purpose. 

God is in CONTROL so let Him be in CONTROL. 

We need to live by faith in any situation that God has placed us in, whether we like it or not. 

Bruce Olsen felt he could serve God in any situation, including being held captive in a jungle "I've always felt that I could serve God in any situation, and this one was full of intriguing possibilities. As a result, I wasn't terrified or even particularly anxious about my fate. I knew it was God —not my captors—who would control the outcome of the situation".

Lets live by faith and trust in the Lord as His plans are always right and each morning wake up and ask "how can I be useful to you today?" rather than asking him to rescue you from your situation.

Much more joy, happiness and pleasure will come about by undertaking His work, than by being grumpy that you are not doing what you want to do. 

In everything give thanks; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(1 Thessalonians 5:18)



  1. A very different way of thinking of things, but one that is no doubt pleasing to the LORD.

    Our one vehicle broke down yesterday at Wal-Mart. Praying for a way to get it fixed so hubby can get to work.

    1. I find cars stressful when they don't work - so when my husband decided on a new car a few years back I was very relieved as it mean we had something very reliable for quite some time.

      I certainly will, makes life very difficult trying to get about without a vehicle.

  2. What an amazing perspective. Sometimes it's all too easy to just look around us and ask for deliverance. This is a book I think my husband and I might enjoy. Perhaps I'll try to get it in a downloadable version for my phone. Thank you for sharing his story and this perspective. It's absolutely shocking to me that this man never thought about getting saved from his situation. I guess God knew he was there, and this man knew God knew and that God had a plan for him. It's so much easier I think when you say, "Lord, what can I do for you today?" for His purpose to be fulfilled and more rewarding besides.

    1. The book about Bruce Olson is called "Bruchko" and I read about it in Kay Arthur’s book "As Silver Refined - Answers to Life's Disappointments” (which I would highly recommend). I think we spend a lot of time telling God (we call its praying, but the truth is, we are still trying to get Him to change the plan) as we have a better idea of what we should be doing - when we should just get on with our day and do the best we can.

  3. I have found that surrendering is an incredible, often amazing way of regaining control of my life.

    1. I agree :) but it can be a little scary at first.

  4. Thank you for this perspective! Feeling useless at work lately so just prayed for God to make me useful as He sees fit

    1. Sometimes our usefulness doesn't appear to be overly useful in our eyes but it can be to the Lord - and even the little things are important. Just keep on smiling :))

  5. This is excellent thinking! Thank you for sharing this encouragement on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Jo!

    1. Good Monday morning! Just a little note to let you know that this post has been featured today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth. Have a lovely week! :)

  6. I LOVED this post! So much so I will be featuring it this Friday on my Feature Friday post.

    The words of the missionary convicted me so much! I realize how self-centered I am in my way of thinking in the trials and tribulations I go through rather than asking God how I can be useful to Him.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    Please stop by and grab my button. :-)

    1. Thanks Karen - I will pop over and visit soon. I was very taken by his words as we spend so much time wanting God to change things rather than just accepting what He has given us.

  7. I wonder how could I miss this post !!!
    And I'm so glad to have seen it this morning on JES' links up party and to be able and read it, it's so fantastic, thank you for sharing, my sweetest friend !

    Have a wonderful evening, darling
    sending love and hugs

    1. And I missed your comment :( I'm having a lovely evening catching up on comments.

  8. This is a very interesting perspective. I agree that we should ask the Lord how we can serve Him each day... However, I don't think it's WRONG to ask the Lord to help us out of difficulties because He likes us to communicate with Him what is in our hearts and we have a host of examples of people asking the Lord for deliverance in the Scriptures - for example, a large portion of the Psalms are cries for help and deliverance from a man after God's own heart!... but we should certainly ask how we can serve Him while we wait for His answer to our prayer, and thank Him for the trials and troubles regardless.
    I would like to read that book, it sounds interesting - must add it to my list!

    1. Maybe he didn't ask for help because he knew God would come and rescue him in Gods time and he didn't want to nag God. Interesting perspective as you say.

      I think we should pray when in difficulty even only to ask for strength and courage . That certainly is important and its part of our unceasing praying .


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