I’ve recently read two books by Andrew Murray: Waiting on God and Working for God.
Christ-centered servant leaders live in the paradox of these two biblical truths. We know that having a posture of waiting on God is essential if we are to be empowered to lead as Jesus did. After all, Jesus often retreated to lonely places to pray and actively waited on God. However, we also recognise that we are called to work and to be fruitful in our service to God. Jesus himself exemplified the balance between waiting on God and working for God: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working… Very truly I tell you, The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (see John 5:16-19).
And then Jesus counsels us in John 15:7-8: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
To follow Jesus’ example we have to wait, rely and remain in intimate relationship with him in order that we can partner with the Godhead in their work on earth. This is the key to bearing much fruit for the Kingdom. In his two books, Murray manages the tension of this paradox with great practical wisdom. As he says, “Our great need is to hold the two sides of the truth in perfect conjunction and harmony.” (Murray 2018:2).
I hope that these quotes inspire you to consider more deeply how you can be a leader who works while waiting.
Quotes from Waiting on God
“If salvation indeed comes from God, and is entirely His work, just as creation was, it follows, as a matter of course, that our first and highest duty is to wait on Him to do the work that pleases Him” (location 41).
“waiting on God is just as indispensable, and must be just as continuous and unbroken, as the breathing that maintains his natural life” (location 59).
“In waiting upon God, the first thought is of the God upon whom we wait. We enter His presence, and feel we need just to be quiet. So that He, as God, can overshadow us with Himself” (location155).
“A soul cannot seek close fellowship with God, or attain the abiding consciousness of waiting on Him all the day, without a very honest and entire surrender to all His will” (location 257).
“All the exercises of the spiritual life, our reading and praying, our willing and doing, have their very great value. But they can go no farther than this, that they point the way and prepare us in humility to look to and to depend alone upon God Himself, and in patience to wait His good time and mercy” (location 401).
“Patience then becomes our highest blessedness and our highest grace. It honours God, and gives Him time to have His way with us. It is the highest expression of our faith in His goodness and faithfulness” (location 503).
“In our church worship, in our prayer meetings, in our conventions, in all our gatherings as managers, or directors, or committees, or helpers in any part of the work for God, our first object ought ever to be to ascertain the mind of God” (location 544).
“If you want to fully know the goodness of God, give yourself more than ever to a life of waiting on Him” (location 861).
“What our faith needs is – more of God” (location 879).
“The more work, the more need of waiting upon God” (location 881).
“A holy, joyful expectancy is of the very essence of true waiting” (location 934).
Quotes from Working for God
“Waiting on God has its value in that it makes us strong in work for God” (p. 1).
“waiting has working as its objective” (p. 2).
“Christ’s church and the world suffer terribly today, not only because many of its members are not working for God, but also because so much working for God is done without waiting on God” (p. 3).
“Every believer is to live wholly for God’s service and work” (p. 12).
“The true Christian is one who knows God’s power working in him and finds his true joy when the life of God flows into him, and through him, and out from him to those around him” (p. 20).
“Work is the great factor by which the hidden beauty and the divine possibilities of the Christian life are brought out” (p. 28).
“As worthless as our works are in procuring salvation, so infinite is their worth for what God has created and prepared for us” (p. 41).
“Obey the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Believe in His indwelling. Wait for His teaching. Yield to His leading. Pray for His might working. Live in the Spirit” (p. 48).
“Humility and love – these are the two great virtues of the saint; they are the two great powers for the work of ministry” (p. 69).
“Humility makes us willing to serve; love makes us wise to know how to do it” (p. 69).
“The secret of true work involves a personal relationship with Christ, an entire surrender to His disposal, a dependent waiting to be used by Him, and a joyful confidence that He will use us” (p. 88).
“Doing is the very essence of blessedness, the highest expression, and therefore, the fullest enjoyment of the life of God” (p. 125).
“Praying and working are inseparable. Let all who work learn to pray well. Let all who pray learn to work well” (p. 136).
“The more you depend on God alone for your strength, the more He will be glorified. The more you seek to make God’s purpose your purpose, the more you will be led to submit to His working and His strength and love” (p. 146).
Each of these books is a 31 days devotional study and ideal to work through in a month. I highly recommend digging into some of Andrew Murray’s writing. I’ve found it very relevant to many of the challenges of leadership we face in the 21st century.