Author Wm. Paul Young writes:
‘I just want to be a tool used by God.’
‘You are being used by God to touch so many lives.’
I understand the sentiment of such comments and the complimentary intent, but the words themselves reveal a misunderstanding of the character of God. The statements are more about a utilitarian god than the God of relationship, love and respect so many of us have come to know in Jesus.
The dictionary says that a tool is ‘a device or implement used or worked by hand or machine to perform a task… something that helps to gain an end.’
God is a relational being; that is who God is. The language of God is about partnering, co-creating, and participating; it’s about an invitation to dance and play and work and grow.
If God uses us, then we are nothing but objects or commodities to God. Even in our human relationships, we know this is wrong.
Would any of us ever say to our son or daughter, ‘I can’t wait for you to grow up so that I can use you. You will be my tool to bring glory to me’?
The thought is abhorrent when we think of those words in relationship to our children so why do we ascribe that language to God and how God relates to us? Have we so soon forgotten that we are God’s children, not tools? That God loves us and would never use us as inanimate objects? That God is about inviting our participation in the dance of love and purpose?
God is a God of relationship and never acts independently. We are God’s children made in God’s image. God does not heal us so that we can be used. God heals us because God loves us, and even as we stumble towards wholeness, God invites us to participate and play.