Another reference I’d point you toward at this juncture is a book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It’s a daily devotional in which the author journals the message she received from the Lord for that day. There in the pages of that humble writing contains the secret to dealing successfully with life, I think. Reading my statement here is not the same as digging into her book and reading along with her each day, so don’t think I’m giving you a shortcut here. That secret, which involves more surrender from you, is that the only way to find peace is to spend time alone with God. In addition we need to practice being in His presence even when we’re not alone. You know, those challenging times when you’re driving on a freeway of discourteous motorists or dealing with an angry customer or having intense fellowship with your spouse. Now you know the goal and the secret of achieving it, but just as everything else, putting it into practice requires some effort from you.
So bottom line, if the ministry you choose to enter is not what God called you to, you’ll be out of harmony with Him, and it’s doubtful He will bless your efforts (although He might – there is precedent for those blessings). And even if it is His will that you pursue this avenue, it is possible for you to run out ahead of Him and sabotage His plan. If you’re a type A, high achievement person, this might be the hardest thing in the world for you to do. I know because I am one, and I’m sure I’ve tried to accelerate God’s time table. That doesn’t work very well. Look at what happened to Abraham and Sarah when they tried to fulfill the promise that God had given them through their personal efforts.
And just to make sure I’m being perfect clear here, I’m not telling you that all of your efforts will be a handicap and so you should twiddle your thumbs waiting for God to do everything. What you’re waiting for is the signal to go to work and hopefully instructions on exactly how to accomplish what your labor attempts to bring to fruition. For example, the man on an Apollo mission can’t decide he’s going to push that powerful button that sends astronauts toward the moon when he’s ready and not make sure that everyone else is ready. That is a recipe for disaster. But it was his responsibility to push that button. Wait for God’s green flag and then hit the accelerator.
However waiting does not mean sitting idle. Waiting time is for preparation. Perhaps you’re not being allowed to proceed because there are things you need to learn first. Be diligent in seeking wisdom and knowledge that is relevant. If you don’t, God may leave you on the shelf permanently because he who fails to prepare, prepares to fail. But make sure that in all that you do, your goal is to see Him glorified not yourself knighted and canonized for your magnanimous contributions to mankind.
Some of you may ask if the need to seek God’s will applies to your vocation and not just ministry. After all, isn’t the work you do to earn a living tied to the rest of your life as well? Yes it is, but most jobs are probably neutral in regard to your calling. When that job interferes with your commission from God, then you need to examine your situation and perhaps make some type of career move. If you’re involved in something shady, then definitely, you need to find something else. A Mafia hit man can be safely assured that he’s outside God’s design for his life. Does your job require you to work so many hours that you don’t have time for ministry and family life? Sounds like a situation that you need to change.
Another question that some might have concerns the stature of the position they hold. Shouldn’t a man seek to rise as high up the totem pole as possible? Shouldn’t that be the carrot in front of his face that keeps his feet moving forward? Ambition is big asset to the self help gurus. For God? Not so much, I think, but He may wish to promote you to place you in a position where you’ll have more impact on the world. When you reach the end of your road, the amount of money you made during your life will have zero significance. How you used that money you made will have great significance, however. In a perfect world, you’ll be letting God guide you in financial matters as well.
In regard to stature of jobs, the concept absolutely reeks of pride. Are you puffed up because you’re the vice president of the local bank? Or the best sales rep in your company? Or the pastor of the biggest church in town? Don’t get hung up on that game! God is not a respecter of persons. He does respect people and their labor but not their position. Is there honor in flipping burgers? Absolutely. Honest toil should not be put down just because the qualifications for that position are minimal. That kind of job has always been a stepping stone and proving ground for successful men and women.
However the most meaningful work a man (or woman) usually gets involved in is outside their daily grind. Unless you’re filling a position of full time ministry, your chance to assist in the building of the Kingdom comes in your spare time. There is no dearth of ways to minister to this sick and dying world. Serving as a little league coach and having a Godly impact on kids who may live in homes where the name of God is never uttered without profanity attached to it. Helping down at the rescue mission is a wonderful ministry.
But here again, fearful of sounding like a broken record, I repeat myself, seek God on what He wants you to do. Regardless if you’re a weekend warrior for the Lord or serving Him in a full time job, I think He is extremely invested in this process. If He called you to be a teacher and you’re holding down the job of a pastor, you’re outside of His perfect will. So even though it is very honorable to be a pastor, in this case you’d be in error to take such a position. John Bevere has written an excellent book which addresses situations such as this. It is entitled Good or God. Sometimes we choose something good and in so doing throw away our chance for the best that God had intended for us. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you truly want what He has for you.
And while I’m speaking of John Bevere, let me mention that he received the second lowest SAT score in English that he’s ever encountered. He struggled mightily with grammar and spelling etc. as he studied to be an engineer. However, God rerouted his destiny and not only gave him the skill to write a book, but actually some of the best books that I’ve read. His book Bait of Satan is also a book that every Christian should read.
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