Tuesday, July 18, 2017


"What do we have that we did not first receive from God? What do we have that we should not be willing to give back to him in worship?" - Thabiti Anyabwile

We are working through Anyabwile's What is a Healthy Church Member? Sunday mornings at Grace. The above quote followed a statement about financial giving, but it applies to so much more: to gifts such as teaching, leadership, and prophecy; to resources such as time, energy, and education; to passions, preferences, and personality.

What do I have that I did not first receive from God? What do you have that you did not first receive from God?

The answer, obviously, is NOTHING.

Everything that we have, we have received from God. Everything.

When I consider that "everything" - the "everything" which I should be willing to give back to God in worship - I tend to think of good things. Positive things. Things that appear valuable and helpful. Things like gifts and abilities and resources.

But considering the above questions Sunday morning - What do I have that I did not first receive from God? What do I have that I should not be willing to give back to him in worship? - I realized: everything means everything. Not just the pretty things or the things others value, but everything.

That means - even the hurt places, the unlovely things, the parts deep inside of me that are broken. Everything.

I have been living in a very broken place for a very long time. I am beginning to realize that brokenness, like everything else in my life, is a gift from God. It, too, is a gift I need to give back to him in worship, for the edification of his body, to the praise of his glorious grace.

It is possible to know sound doctrine, and yet to know nothing of the love of Jesus and to share nothing of the love of Jesus with others. I can prophesy, serve, teach, exhort, give, lead, and show mercy (Romans 12:6-8) - I can do many good things - and still completely miss the gospel.

When I am broken, however, I have no good thing at all with which to sustain myself or to share with my brothers and sisters but Christ.

Even brokenness comes to me from the hand of God. It is a gift. Is brokenness a gift that I will bury, like the foolish servant who buried his one talent in the ground? Or, is brokenness a gift that I will invest for kingdom work?

How can I not give this, too, back to God in worship?


Jennifer Ward said...

What does this mean, Mrs. Camille? Are you depressed? Does it mean sharing about a struggle with depression and believing that God has a plan to use your depression to build up others?--perhaps in compassion and care over you, or perhaps by learning from your example that they're not alone if they too share the struggle?

Camille said...

Hi, Jennifer! No, I am not depressed, but depression is an excellent example of what I am talking about. And, yes- I am talking about God's using whatever is broken in our lives to build up others, either by giving them opportunities to encourage/pray/walk with us, or by letting them know they are not alone.

My greatest personal "broken place" is not depression, but my marriage. Steve and I are really struggling, have been struggling for years. We have tried to keep our struggles hidden, which has robbed us of the ministry of others and has eliminated opportunities for us to help others who are struggling like we are. Other "flavors" of brokenness could include depression, chronic illness or pain, grief over a wayward child, financial difficulties, doubts re. faith, loss of a child or infertility, addiction, loneliness...anything that grieves us deeply and that constantly reminds us how fallen we and the world in which we live are.

I have thought of these broken places as something that GOD NEEDS TO FIX RIGHT NOW! However, I am learning that God is often content to NOT fix our brokenness, but to minister to us and through us in the midst of our afflictions, sometimes over many years, even a lifetime. My mentality in the past has been: When God fixes this/answers my prayers, then He can use my situation to glorify himself and to edify the body of Christ. Seriously? God can only get glory for himself after He ties "happily ever after" up with a big pink bow?!

I am learning - painfully, slowly - that, yes, God can bring glory to himself by making things "whole" - but - He is just as able to glorify himself in the midst of great brokenness (Jesus himself being our greatest example). And, I am beginning to understand that withholding/protecting/hiding my brokenness ("Everything is fine! Really! I mean it!"), is a major Grace Fail and a disservice to the body.

I am NOT saying that brokenness has value in and of itself. "Let's all get together and talk about how broken we are all the time"...ummm, NOPE. I AM saying that brokenness, like everything else in the life of a believer, is a gift to be given back to God in worship, in service to his people, to the praise of his glorious grace.

Love you, Jennifer! Thank you for your thoughtful question!