Holding the flashlight made me feel like a real big shot. I spent many nights with my dad under the hood of an old Pontiac Bonneville, while he changed the oil or replaced the spark plugs. He’d say, “Shine that over here,” and I would swing that five-pound Maglite over to where he pointed. I almost never got it right, and I never fully understood what he was doing. But I was convinced that finishing the job was impossible without me and my flashlight.
Now that I think about it, he didn’t really need me to hold the flashlight. He could have worn a headlamp or attached a magnetic light to the hood’s underside. In retrospect, I know he wanted me to observe his work so I could learn from him and spend time with him. He used me even though he didn’t need me. And he still used me, despite the fact that I did a poor job.
Friend, God doesn’t need you to do His work. God is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). He is the sovereign Creator, the sufficient Sustainer, and the supreme Lord of the universe. He can do anything at any time without help from anyone or anything. He doesn’t need you and He doesn’t need me.
The good news is, however, God wants to use you to do His work. Even though He doesn’t need you and you sometimes mess up, He still wants to use you as an expression and extension of His grace in this world. He wants you to hold the flashlight of the gospel, so that its saving message may shine for those who are lost in darkness (Matt. 4:16; Rom. 2:19). It may not seem like much—it may not seem like enough—to hold the flashlight and do your small part. But it is just enough for God to show you that He is enough.
Remember the feeding of the five-thousand? What the disciples offered the Lord was puny and insufficient—five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:38). However, Jesus didn’t criticize them for having only enough food to feed a handful of people. He used what they could offer, albeit small, and fed five thousand people. Additionally, since He miraculously multiplied the fish and the loaves, He did not need the disciples to distribute it among the people—surely He had the power to do it Himself. Yet, “[He] gave them to the disciples to set before the people” (v. 41b).
The Lord will use you as you are with what you already have. If all you can do is hold a flashlight, then do that.
Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.