A lot of times we hear Christians say, "Lord, use me." When, in reality, what they're saying is, "Lord, I want people to know about you, but I'd also like to get a little somethin' somethin' from you as well." I think if we're serious about allowing God to use us, then we can't really expect anything in return. Afterall, didn't we already receive mercy? We get life where we should have gotten death...we don't even really deserve that, let alone anything else.
Right now I feel very used. Before going to bed last night, my wife said, "I've never felt more used in my life." (After writing that sentence, it has occurred to me that it might appear to some that I am using my wife...I assure you I am not, and that we are doing quite well in our marriage and life together). The events of the past couple weeks have been difficult. We had a good friend living with us for July and August...then it extended to September. The agreement was that he would stay until the end of August and pay a set amount of rent (a very reasonable amount I might add). The end of August came, and he didn't have a plan to find his own place...or a job for that matter. We extended his welcome under the same conditions and agreement for one month, but I made very clear that the month was to be used to find his own place, etc. The end of September came, and he still was not out. He had a plan, but it didn't fit within the agreement we had originally made. In addition, he wasn't keeping up his end of the agreement. So, I did one of the hardest things I've ever done: I told him he needed to move his stuff out and asked for the money he owed me. Long story short, he expected to not pay me, and he expected to be able to keep his stuff at my house for a time.
So, as he his moving out (the whole day was a little awkward, considering he still owes me money and on the phone last week blew up at me...but I should also note he has since apologized...which helps to make things a bit better, still awkward sometimes), his stuff goes into storage, he makes plans, etc. At 11pm last night, as I was getting ready to turn the lights off and go to bed I heard a knock on the door. The last time someone knocked on the door this late, it was my friend Chris who had relapsed on drugs and wanted to turn himself in for a warrant that was out on him for other charges. Surprisingly enough (or not so surprisingly at all), it was him, out of jail. He said he needed to use the phone, which I let him, but I also ended up offering him my couch to crash on the for the night. I'm happy to offer people things, but when I feel like they're using me, I don't like it. Sometimes I feel like Chris is using me. He calls when he needs a ride, he shows up when he needs the phone (or a couch). I went to bed last night feeling used, and I didn't like that feeling, yet at the same time, I have to think of Christ...who gave sacrificially...who didn't have a place to lay his head...who probably would have given up his couch for someone else.
Once I prayed that God would use me, and nights like last night I tend to regret that prayer. But mornings like this I tend to be glad I prayed it. I have perspective that the dude on my couch downstairs who just got our of jail for larceny, has a warrant out in another county for violating probation, and is a recovering drug addict also happens to Christ. So, I guess I'm not really being used right now...I'm simply giving back a little bit of what Christ gave me.