God of the Paperclips

By Susan K. Stewart

In less than twelve hours, a couple thousand people would line up for the opening of the convention. As had become tradition prior to any major events, the convention committee gathered to pray. Around the table we prayed, "Bless this convention" and "Thank you for letting us be involved." One person surprised us with her petition, "God, please take care of the paper clips." Her prayer acknowledged that God is interested in every detail of our lives, right down to the paperclips.

"Be still, and know that I am God" is a familiar Bible verse. We often emphasize the "be still," forgetting who is God. We were certainly being still during that time of prayer; but only one person was remembering God's involvement in the details.

How interested is the Creator of the universe in the details of our lives? Well, how interested are you in your children's lives? God has an even greater interest in you and every area of your life.

Have you ever believed that God wants you to do something but you didn't know how to do it? Or, maybe you feared failure? Often we end up "being still." We fuss (pray?), worry (stress?), and sit still, doing nothing. To break free from this trap, we need to learn to turn over the paperclips to God.

A Need is not a Call

First, you need to make sure that what you are doing is what God wants you to do. I get lots of great ideas. I can think of many good things I could be doing. When I see the commercials on TV about the hurting children in other countries, I want to do something. I hear about abused women; I want to act. The pastor calls for a Sunday School teacher; I want to raise my hand.

I finally learned that a need is not necessarily a call. Are you trying to do something that is someone else's job, someone else's call? Have you lost your focus on what God wants you to do? If you are lacking joy in what you are doing, maybe you're doing someone else's assignment and leaving God out of the details.

Ponder your Motives

Second, ponder why you are doing what you are doing. Often we carry on a project out of tradition or habit or because we think that no one else will do it. This applies to every activity you are involved in. Are you motivated by a sense of obligation or guilt - or because you believe God is directing you?

Let God Worry about the Details

Third, when God has shown you a task to do, let Him worry about the details. Our God is mighty, powerful, and strong. These are big words. In our puny little minds, we think God is too big to bother Himself with the tiny details.

In North America, we don't have to depend on God to take care of much. Unlike people in a third world nation, we usually know where our next meal is coming from, what we will clothe our children with, and where we will live. We have become so self-sufficient that we don't think we should bother God with little things like paperclips.

God has all the details worked out - in advance - from eternity (that's huge). It doesn't matter whether you're trying to get enough nursery workers or visiting a sick friend or preparing a dinner for in-laws.

That doesn't necessarily mean that God will give us all the details in advance. As Henry Blackaby says, "God will always give you enough specific directions to do now what He wants you to do. When you need more directions, He will give more in His timing."

The final and most necessary step is to pray - talk with God about the job ahead of you. You can't know how to do something unless you chat with the planner. How often we stumble around, fret and worry, and lose our joy because we haven't asked the architect of the universe for the blueprint on our little jobs.

When we submit to God's plans, allowing Him to work the details, we don't sweat the small stuff. More importantly, God is honored. And that is our ultimate purpose.

Susan K. Stewart and her husband Bob live in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Susan speaks to homeschool groups and women's groups and is the author of Science in the Kitchen, Fearless Science for All Ages. She can be reached at susan@skstewart.com or visit her web site www.skstewart.com.


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