Does God Need Us?

Have you ever contemplated the astonishing idea that God trusts us to do His work in the world? Indeed He has given us the glorious privilege of being incarnations of Christ’s love as He was the incarnation of God’s love in a love-starved world. As Michael Quoist says it, we are “invited to participate, as a friend and brother or sister, in the mission entrusted to Jesus by the Father.”

Others too have spoken appealingly of this facet of our relationship with God:

. . . we have been given the spirit of power and love and self-control, . . . that we may be embodiments of the Spirit of God in human affairs through whom He may accomplish His purposes in the world.Reul Howe, in Herein Is Love.

Part of the astonishing humility of the love of God lies, not only in His human-level approach in coming down to where we are, but in His perfect readiness to use ordinary people like ourselves as channels and instruments in our day and generation in the vast sweep of his unchanging purpose.” – J. B. Phillips in Making Men Whole.

To be sure, God does not need us in the way that we need Him; yet His love cannot be poured out unless there is a response in us.

Many of us perhaps long for some dramatic witness. The truth is, however, that for the most part we are embodiments of His Spirit in the ordinary places, in those areas where our lives touch the lives of others, where God has placed us and using the gifts He has given us.

Elton Trueblood has pointed out that “there are people for whom you hold the keys of the kingdom” and if you don’t use the keys, nobody else will. It may be the actual moment of bringing someone into the kingdom, it may be a moment of great insight when all of life opens up when you are sharing together, it may be a moment of crisis, it may be an introduction to Jesus through your love, and it may be a healing moment.

Jesus was not always “going out of his way” to look for somebody to serve. He just “seems to have walked along and helped the people in his path. He was always focused on doing God’s will and going where God led him” (Keith Miller, in The Taste of New Wine). We have to conclude that it was by doing this that He was doing God’s will. It must follow then that if we are to continue His work, if we are to be incarnations of His love, we will live our lives in the same way. Thus do we become the “loving concern of God in action.”

Is it not an incredible thought that God needs us? Although what we do may seem small and insignificant, when taken up into the stream of God’s love, our little personal stores of faith and action become greater than we could ever imagine. They become, as Samuel Shoemaker has phrased it, “a sacramental channel for the Spirit of God to use.”