by ANNA HAGGARD
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last.” John 15:16a (NIV)
I meet Jess* on a sweltering afternoon. She wears traditional Pakistani garb: long turquoise tunic, scarf and loose-fitting trousers, breathable in the Pennsylvania summer humidity. Jess’s striking green eyes are clear and direct. But her gaze extends beyond herself to a vision for Christ-centered education in Pakistan. Jess does this today by sabotaging a system of injustice and poverty through education.
Her path is not an easy one. She could have chosen a different direction a decade ago when she graduated summa cum laude in both mathematics and computer science. She had a world of opportunities available to her professionally.
But instead, she courageously decided to take God at His Word. At the age of 24, while Jess was participating in a two-week mission trip in London, God made it clear He was calling her to full-time vocational ministry. He promised that if she pursued ministry full-time, He would take care of her professionally and financially.
From small-town Pennsylvania, she was led to Pakistan. Today, she and her husband live with their daughter and work with the local church. Having already given Jess a gift for solving problems and perfecting systems, God had perfectly placed her to serve His kingdom.
With the intellect God has given her, Jess has helped streamline over 20 Christian schools in Pakistan so they can reach more children. She’s improved these schools’ efficacy by increasing teachers’ pay, securing scholarships for impoverished children and improving school facilities.
These schools reach Pakistan’s most destitute children, where many of their parents are enslaved as bonded laborers.
By refining a system of education, Jess is undermining a system of injustice. Through education, children are empowered to upend poverty in their families within one generation.
Jess reminds me that when God calls you, He doesn’t waste your gifts. We see this so clearly in Scripture too.
Early in the book of Joshua, we find another example of someone using her gifts: Rahab. While Rahab is famous for her trade, God isn’t concerned with her occupation as a prostitute. Instead, God exalts her gifts.
God gifted Rahab with a brilliant mind, which she uses to enable the Israelites to enter the Promised Land. Bold and bright, her skill for thinking on her feet saves two Israelite spies. Her ability to negotiate with these spies ultimately saves her entire family (as explained in Joshua 2:6).
When God called Rahab, He didn’t overlook her talents and intellect. Instead, by using her gifts, Rahab forever changes the course of history.
Through her courage, Rahab is chosen to be in Christ’s lineage, ushering God’s plan of redemption for all of us.
How has God chosen you?
In John 15:16a, Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last.”
Wherever you live and work, He has gifted you with a particular genetic makeup, traits, mind, talents and spiritual gifts. And, when God calls you, He doesn’t waste the gifts He’s given you.
Dear God, I praise You that You have created me with gifts to make a difference. I ask that You open the way for me to use them in extending Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.