There is something I have to get off my chest. It really is not just directed at one group of people, it is directed to all of us who consider ourselves to be "in" ministry. This includes me. With that disclaimer I digress...
"I just need God to direct my steps into the ministry He wants me to do." "God, bless me in MY ministry so that You may be glorified." "I am just waiting for God to open the doors so the dreams He has placed in my heart can be fulfilled." Any of these sound familiar? I have been guilty of using phrases very close to, if not dead on to these. Dear church of America, WAKE UP! We have people all around us that are suffering, alone, hurt, abused, abandoned, searching for God and we are worried that "our" ministry will not grow enough this quarter. It is shameful. Where in scripture does it tell us that God is obliged to make sure WE feel like OUR talents are used in the absolute way WE want them to be used. Where in scripture does it tell us that if WE work hard enough, know the right people, sing the right songs, play enough shows, preach the right messages, plan the right services that people will be saved? When did we get so off track of the simplicity of the Gospel? When did we decide that it was more important for us to have big congregations than for the one "lost sheep" to be found? There is something wrong with a mindset that wants to "fill seats" in order to "have the biggest" church in town, but most of those seat fillers are people who are just out "church shopping" and have been at almost every church in the tri-state area to see if it is "the right fit." All the while we can walk just outside of our beautifully manicured church parking lots and everywhere our eyes look there are people who need Jesus.
I am not against using the above things,( our talents, programs etc) to reach out to people who need Jesus, but when they are manipulated to be used to stroke egos or to just fill a "vision statement" that we have of having 2,000 people attending our church services it breaks my heart. It makes me ashamed. It makes me cry out to God to change me, to change us, to wake us up and to pour out on us the heart of God.
This morning I was reading in Matthew 4 about when Jesus called His first disciples. I began to think about each one of the individuals He called to follow Him. Have you ever stopped to consider the absolute diversity in that group? I mean just take Peter and Matthew. Peter was a fisherman. He was the hardworking, manual labor, get sweaty and earn your living man. Then, here comes Matthew.. a tax collector to add to the mix. I can imagine that the two of them might not have exactly liked one another at first. But Jesus called them both. He called them to leave their old professions (the ones they had accepted as their lives work) and said "follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." He did not promise them that they would be the worlds best fishermen, fame and fortune, a "Sea of Galilee" rod and reel endorsement deal..or their face on "Tax collector of the Year" magazine, with wealth and power. Jesus has a way of taking what WE think is so important and showing us how little importance it actually has. I want to be able to not be afraid to trust Him and be willing to lay down any of my "plans" or "aspirations" in order to have Him direct my steps. That does not mean He won't use us in the areas we think, it just means that we can not expect God to bend to our plans, or to what we think is important.
Really feeling the urgency to shed any and all "plans" I have built for myself and truly lay them at the feet of Jesus. Lead me God.