So many of us have a desire and a passion to start in ministry or perform some work or business that glorifies God and I think this is great but… (Yes, you heard it coming) we need more than desire or passion to right a wrong or to help/encourage others if we want the ministry to be effective and successful. The success of a ministry is not built on how worthwhile we believe something is or how much work we are willing to put in to make it bear fruit, a truly successful and effective ministry is the result of being in step with and in submission to God’s will 101% of the way.
I once heard it said that any injustice/need which caused a passion to be stirred within you was your life’s calling…. yes and no. I’ve had enough failures in ministry and business to know that this is an over-simplified equation. From my late teenage years into early adulthood I had a strong desire to help and encourage black ethnic minority youths from disadvantaged backgrounds, a lot of my work experience focused on mentoring, encouraging and supporting youth. My passion to right the wrongs and to turn the tide of the negative environmental influences on their life stemmed from what I had seen and experienced in my own life, that of siblings and others around me. The passion was great, the vision was honourable but it wasn’t what God had called me to do.
When I fell ill in 2008, I slowly began to realise that the majority of the illness had been a result of psychological stressors of which work featured quite highly. On the back of this it became my goal to teach people about the dangers of stress at work and how they could promote employee healing and well-being by bringing God-centred principles into the workplace (I was employed by a Christian educational establishment). Once again, great passion and a honourable vision but still not quite what God had called me to do.
From that time until early 2011, I tried many things which I had great passion and a great vision for, none of those things bore any real or lasting fruit. In 2011, I felt God call me into a ministry that He had been birthing me for since I became ill in 2008. I already had the passion for it but this time due to my previous failures I didn’t have the vision or the motivation to take up and put on the mantle. I was afraid of doing only to fail. I spent a lot of time in prayer trying to work out if this was me again or if it was really God, I had reached that stage where I needed Him to be my guide and centre because I knew that if He was not firmly-rooted in the centre of this ministry, it would fail like everything else I had done.
One day, I met a lady who had written a book and was giving a talk on the process of writing her book. I was very intrigued about this, everything that she said resonated with me, ever since I had fallen ill God had moved me to keep a diary, so I had volumes on what He had been teaching me on health, wellness and healing. I knew that God wanted me to do something with it but what? I wasn’t physically healed, so who would listen to someone still in the midst of brokenness? I remember speaking to this woman and telling her of my concerns and she said to me, write anyway, leave God to heal you in the process. Such wise words, by putting the words in coherent form, the words began to minister healing and life to me. I began to hear God more clearly, calling me, guiding me, leading me and saying “I called you to bring my healing truth, my light and my love to those who are broken” this was the proof that I needed that God had specifically called me to this particular ministry.
So looking back, I realise that ministry has nothing to do with desire and passion but a simple truth, that have we been called into a particular ministry, and are we called for such a time as this?
If you are anything like me, it can be extremely difficult to wait around and listen to God’s voice calling you into ministry whilst we twiddle our thumbs and do seemingly nothing. But we need to look from a different perspective, having a ministry, a God-breathed ministry is not about us, our works or our strength, because He is the source of life behind and within it. In order for a ministry to be God-filled, those who minister need to become God-filled; we have to become a vessel that God can use. He can’t use us if we enter into ministry with our own will and agenda, the first thing that He needs to do is break us down and strip us bare, there is no room for I when we want God to be all-encompassing! God needs to sanctify us, cleanse us, separate us from the dross that we have carried along with us in life, and the deeper and more powerful the ministry the more God works on us to refine us. How can what is unclean be fit for the use of a perfect and Holy God?
God is perfect and filled with such merciful love, when we enter into ministry we become responsible for the souls that He leads to us. Do we want to be like those who have started off well with great passion and vision, only to fall when faced with the reality of what it means to be a servant and vessel of God? And we can easily fall, if we don’t allow God to take us through that period of cleansing and sanctification that every vessel of God needs before it can be fit for His perfect and noble use. Going into ministry is not something we should desire in our flesh, true ministry is a burden that God gives us to carry, a sacrificial cross that God gives us to bear to be His representatives. He won’t ever give us this burden until we are able to carry it, but sometimes in our own stubbornness and pride He leaves us to take up a cross that is far too heavy for our weak frame.
So, if like me you are still waiting for God, whether if it’s to call you or to finish cleansing you or even to start to open doors for you, I want to let you know that there is no rush because time is in His hands. God already has a vision for you, He has a plan and a purpose especially designed for each one of us, but remember this…
Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with YHVH one day is a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.
2 Peter 3: 8
Allow God to say when is the time for you to go.
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