Have you been praying, but wondering if God has heard your prayers? Have you been giving, offering, sacrificing, serving, but feel like the memo maybe isn’t getting through to God that you are being faithful?
I once believed if God knew you were being faithful, it would result in immediate and ridiculous overflowing abundance in every area of your life. Well, I was D-I-S-A-Double P-ointed. Disappointed with like a capital D. The appointing was more like a dis (get it?) Like what the heck God, I was faithful AND I was still having trouble making my car payment? I was praying AND everything still seemed to be falling apart?
Now I realize I had misunderstood God’s promises and intentions. He never intended to make my life easier as a result of my faithfulness, he intended to make my life more meaningful with missions bigger than just myself. Oh my sister, if you hear nothing else this morning, hear this … You know God has heard your prayers and seen your faithfulness when you are given a mission. Not when all your problems are miraculously fixed and your questions are answered with a guaranteed 10 year plan … nope … not the way God works. Mission. He gives you a mission.
Acts 10 tells us about a faithful man named Cornelius. It says “Cornelius and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
Ohhhhhhhh, this is great news! God had a meeting discussing Cornelius’ faithfulness!!!! Like finally. Let me prepare myself for the downpour of blessings. Yassssssss!
Now I want you to imagine for a moment, God calling all the angels around and saying, “Have y’all seen this girl? Have you heard how she has been praying? Every day she prays. Have you seen how she makes time to seek me? She looks for me in the details of her life and she is continually seeking to step into my good plans for her. Oh that girl makes me happy. She is so faithful in using everything I have given her and giving in a way that honors me. Now, I’ve called this meeting so we can talk about what we’re going to do for her next.”
This is exactly the kind of meeting that had been taking place concerning the faithfulness of Cornelius. Don’t you want to know what happened as a result? Don’t you want to know what God does when he hears your prayers, sees your sacrifice, knows your intentions, and calls a meeting in heaven to make plans for you? Ohhhhhhh yasssss, let’s keep reading!
Verse 5 , The angel of the Lord told Cornelius, “send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
Hmmmmm, not quite what you were expecting? You were expecting for God to hear your prayers and see your sacrifice, and respond with something a little sweeter than, “hey, now do this.” You were expecting walls to come tumbling down revealing your miraculous breakthrough? You were expecting flashing signs leading the way to your very clear jackpot? You were expecting everything to start going right and all that was bad immediately turn to good?
Nope. Instead, God sees who is faithful and sends them on a mission!
God has heard your prayers, my sister. He has seen your struggle and how you have continued to return to him through it. He has seen the sacrifices you have made that no one else even knows about. He has received your offerings as gifts of gratitude and signs of complete surrender. AND HE HAS RESPONDED. HE HAS RESPONDED WITH YOUR MISSION.
Now here’s the thing about a mission from God … it may not seem so important in the beginning. It may not make sense. It may not be what you really want to do. It may seem like small busy work when you were hoping for a more important role. But remember this Sis, you have no idea how God is using your small step of faithfulness here as part of something SO MUCH BIGGER.
So God has a little meeting about Cornelius in heaven, and then sends an angel to give him his mission. Cornelius, send your men to go find Peter in Joppa. So, that’s exactly what Cornelius does. Now right before the men find Peter, God gives Peter a vision. A confusing vision and a clear statement to no longer call anything impure that God has chosen to make clean.
Why was this statement and vision important? Because God was about to bring Peter, a Jew, to meet with Cornelius, a Gentile. Peter would have viewed Cornelius as not only impure, but as an enemy. It was afterall the Gentiles who had killed his Jesus.
So, you can understand the conflict within Peter going to Cornelius’ home, and you can understand the conflict within Cornelius to obey God and accept this mission to find Peter.
BUT GIRLFRIEND, MAY I REMIND YOU THAT GOD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING. He has seen things you have not seen. He has gone before you in places you have yet to go. He knows things to come that you don’t even have a hint of yet.
So, when God says GO, you can trust him fully and GO. Go when it doesn’t make sense. Go when it’s the opposite of what you would typically do. Go, because you’re not going to want to miss what God is about to do if you will go.
So, Peter comes to Cornelius’ house and he’s like, hey you know it’s really not customary for this kind of meeting to be happening. We don’t believe the same thing. We’ve been arguing and fighting for generations. But God told me to change the way I see the things I used to call impure and get in agreement with what he wants to do. He told me to go, so here I am … now why am I here exactly?
So Cornelius tells Peter about the visit from an angel he had that gave him the mission to seek him out. Verse 33 “Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
And what Peter had to tell them would not only change their entire lives, it would save their souls for an eternity. He told them about his Jesus! I mean he told them all about Jesus. About his anointing and power, about his good works and healings, about his death on the cross and his resurrection after 3 days. And Peter told them about the forgiveness offered to everyone who believes in Jesus.
Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch? If you have a business, you’re supposed to have a pitch that gives the entire story of what you do and why they want to be part of it, all in the time it would take to get from the first floor to the tenth floor. That’s your elevator pitch, and this is what Peter gave them. Here’s the truth, here’s all the highlights, and here’s why you just gotta be part of this!
And y’all, guess what happens next! Verse 44, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.”
What happened there that day was proof that God could and would save anyone. People who were on the wrong team, standing for the wrong thing even, God would save them. God would pour out his Spirit on the Jews and the Gentiles alike.
Yip, the Catholic and the Baptist. The Democrats and the Republicans. The “for it’s” and the “against it’s”. The East and the West. The redneck country folk and the city slickers alike. The wrong and the right. God wanted them all, and he wanted his power working in all of them!
Can God do that? You bet your butt he can! Is that his desire here again? Absolutely! How will he do it? He will send someone who is praying to him to connect with someone else who is very different but also praying to him, and he will bring them together for a display of his power.
How do you know God has heard your prayers? How do you know he is responding to your faithfulness? God calls a meeting in heaven to talk about you!
There’s a meeting in heaven happening right now and the topic of discussion is YOU. You and your prayers. You and your sacrifice. You and your seeking. How stinking cool is that?
What will happen next? A mission. A mission that may not make sense to you, but will ultimately bring you in to make you part of something so much bigger where God’s power is unleashed!
Now, I understand, it’s not about all the questions being answered. It’s not about all the problems being solved. It’s not about my hardships being made a whole lot easier. It’s about being part of something bigger than myself where God is moving, where God is saving, where God is restoring, where God is setting others on their missions for his good plans!
I want to be part of that! Yes girl, we get to be part of that!
If you’ve been praying. If you’ve been seeking. If you’ve been faithful. God has a mission for you. Go!