After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.(NLT)
The phrase, “Let go, let God” is one of those phrases that is both disturbing and comforting. Taken the wrong way, it can suggest that we become passive and assume God will do all our work for us. Taken the right way, it can remind us that we don’t control the world, that we can’t dictate outcomes….especially when it comes to the lives of others.
Paul did lots of hard work in the churches he founded. He ensured they were well taught and well led. He did what he needed to do. But at the end of the day he had to commit them to the Lord, entrust them to his care. Paul could not be everywhere, could not singled handedly determine what each person was going to do. He encouraged, he taught, he helped. But he could not control. He could only hand them over to the Lord who did control.
How much time and energy do we waste on trying to control others, to manage their lives and strive to guarantee outcomes? We certainly are to help, to guide, to pray, to love. But we can’t ultimately live others’ lives for them. We let go of them, inviting God to do his work. We let go of them, asking God to show us what is our ongoing responsibility and what is not. This means we avoid lazy abdication of our responsibilities and also means we avoid taking on inappropriate responsibility.
It is right to let go and then let God determine the role, if any, we are to play in another’s life.
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