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Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? I think everyone should ask God this question. “Lord, what have you purposed me for?”

Now, if your kitchen is anything like mine you probably have a drawer for your cooking utensils. I’m betting its not crammed full of just wooden spoons or whisks. You probably have an assortment; each one having a a specific purpose for which it was created. You wouldn’t grab a flipper to clean out the mayonnaise jar because you know a spatula would do a much better job.

If we humans have created things to fulfill a certain purpose, in order for tasks to be accomplished more effectively and efficiently, than it stands to reason that God created people to fulfill certain purposes, as well.

“The Lord has made everything for his own purposes.” Proverbs 16:4 (NLT)

Gladys Aylward, who left school when she was fourteen, merely thought her purpose was to love God, go to church on Sundays and work as a house cleaner the other six days of the week. She never saw herself as anyone but ordinary. However, her Heavenly Father saw much, much more than that. He saw someone that he had purposed for something special. At a revival meeting in London, England in 1924, God called this ordinary woman to the mission field of China!


After feeling God’s ‘unction’ Gladys took the next logical step. She enrolled in the China Inland Mission Training Center; the one started by Hudson Taylor, famous missionary to China. Gladys studied hard but failed all the exams. They informed her she wasn’t suited to being a missionary! Gladys was so discouraged, yet the call of God did not leave her heart.

Her work ethic, desire to serve others and her love for God was something the Lord was pleased with. Despite all kinds of obstacles and setbacks Gladys did go to China, traveling by almost every mode of transportation possible in the 1930’s. Once there the Lord used her to help start an inn for muleteers, where the gospel was shared by telling Bible stories. She became a foot inspector during the time that foot binding became forbidden, sharing the gospel in every village she visited. Because the Lord was with her she was able to stop a prison riot, which also helped change the deplorable conditions in the prison. She took in orphans and during WWII rescued 94 by taking them over the mountains to safety.

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China…I don’t know who it was…it must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…and God said – “Well, she’s willing.”    Gladys Aylward


I think she was his first choice. Unfortunately though, many Christians listen to the lies in their head and hearts. Lies like: I don’t have what it takes; I’m not as spiritual as so and so, I’m just too busy or what can I do?

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:10 (NIV)

I know I would have given up many times in what God has called me to if it weren’t for the example of Gladys Aylward. I can’t keep telling her story and not follow God’s purpose for myself. Her story has helped countless people see that if he can use someone as ordinary as Gladys to accomplish his purposes, he can use anyone. And God isn’t calling everyone to a foreign mission field. It may be to write that book the Lord put on your heart. Or reach out to your neighbors, seniors’ home, prison, high school or even lead a Bible study.

I for one, don’t want to be that utensil that sits in the bottom of the drawer, never being used. Hopefully you don’t either.