Updated: Feb 14
It was St. Augustine who wrote, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” I heard a story recently that fleshed out what this can look like:
On the way to serve at church, friends saw a person in need on the road and pulled over to help. After talking with the woman and her husband, my friends planned to invite the couple to church. They grabbed the awesome invite tools we have available at our Connections Centers and put them in their car, fully prepared for the next time their schedules would open up and they could go visit the couple again.
I’m sure from the day they connected with the couple, my friends had been praying for them. The couple was going through a major life transition. The husband was struggling to care for his wife and her needs were becoming bigger and bigger - the kind of stuff we all dread for our parents and fear for ourselves. They needed support, they needed prayer, and they needed Jesus.
Fast forward a few weeks and a man introduces himself to Matt in the foyer. Come to find out later that was the husband my friends had been praying about inviting to church!
Wait…he showed up to church without ever being given an invite tool??
He drove himself to church?
He sat in church by himself?
He didn’t need my friend to answer questions or interpret something Matt said?
None of those things happened. And yet there he was, the man they had been praying for right before their eyes. As Matt welcomed the man, he interrupted Matt with tears in his eyes and asked, “Is the music always that beautiful? The words were just so beautiful...” I think Jesus reached out to him that day. It didn’t look the way my friends planned it would look, it looked the way God planned it would look. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
I’m grateful Augustine put God first in that sentence. God doesn’t need us to accomplish His will. God is all powerful, all knowing, and all wise. God doesn’t need us for anything! God chooses to use us. God chooses to let us participate in His work, I would say, for our own good.
Are you looking?
Are you praying?
And just as important: Are you trusting Him to work?