God can do anything, but He won’t make your bed for you (at least, He’s never done it for me). Dr. Adam Clarke is famous for his popular Bible commentary. Because he was not the fastest worker, he could only produce his great literary treasures through slow and persistent work. To make up for this, Clarke made a habit of getting up early every morning.

A young preacher admired Dr. Clarke’s work ethic, and he wanted to apply Clarke’s dedication to his own studies. One day, this preacher asked Dr. Clarke how he managed his work load. “Do you pray about it?” he inquired.

“No,” the doctor quietly answered, “I get up.”

Whenever you see someone do something great for God, it is because they were willing to get up and put in the effort. God could have taken Dr. Clarke’s pen and written every word in his commentary while he was asleep. Instead, He chose to work through Dr. Clarke’s strong work ethic.

God does the same with you and me. While He has the power to do anything, He prefers to do His work through us. Instead of waiting for Him to work in our lives, we should be taking the initiative and doing everything we know to do.

Prayer is often used as an excuse for procrastination and inaction. The bottom line is simple: if we know there is something we can be doing for the Lord, then we should be giving it everything we’ve got. This is the surest way to see the Lord’s work advanced.

Perhaps you have a burden to serve as a missionary, but you are waiting for God to open the door. Serve the Lord now by telling everyone you can about Christ — don’t wait until you become a missionary to start missionary work. There may be something else you really want to do for Christ, but the opportunity just hasn’t come yet. Don’t wait for the opportunity to come; use the opportunities you have to serve Christ right now where you are. God wants to do a great work, but you will have to get up and get to work if you want Him to do it through you.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder