Points to Ponder: Are You Holding Back?
Points to Ponder
Are You Holding Back?
"What on earth am I here for?" That is the question Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, is designed to help us answer. It is a 40 day scripture-based, spiritual journey that helps the reader to progress in finding, and fulfilling God's purpose for his/her life.
At this writing, I have just completed Day 29. The memory verse from Ephesians 2:10 undergirds the topic of serving God: "For we are God's workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)
Consider the awesome implications of that verse. If you are a Christian, a true disciple of Jesus Christ, there is a work, a service for you to do. You are special and especially designed for and designated to do God's work in some area of ministry. Ministry is another word for service; and as Pastor Warren points out, folks are naturally inclined to look for a church that "blesses me", and "feeds me", and "meets my needs". "Most of the time we are more interested in 'serve us' than service," says Warren. People believe that going into the ministry is what ordained clergy do; however, every baptized believer is supposed to already be in ministry, serving the Lord, and being an ambassador, a representative and advocate for Christ (II Corinthians 5:17-20) You have a calling from God, and a purpose. What in the world are you doing with it? Do you know what that calling is? If not, what are you DOING RIGHT NOW to find it, to embrace it, and to give your life to it?
Some people say they have no gifts or special talents. The Bible says, if you are in Christ, you do.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there ara diversities of activities but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. (I Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV)
A group of youth were interviewing me about my role as pastor. One boy asked what kind of church is the most difficult to pastor. I said that the apathetic church is probably the hardest. Conflicts can be worked on and worked out; problems and challenges can be faced and overcome (and we'll grow in the process); but a church full of people who do not want to serve the Lord beyond one hour on Sunday and their own four walls is painfully difficult. No amount or variety of creative programs can compel people into loving Jesus and wanting to serve Him with their lives.
I have been blessed to be able to serve in ministry with several churches full of people who are striving to grow, willing to serve, and who love God and their neighbors. But in every church, no matter how vibrant and growing it may be, there are those who make excuses for not being available for God's use. I have been guilty of this myself. I am thankful that God has been patient with me over the many years when I was fighting Him for control of my life. Our comfort zones are self-made prisons in which we reside while we deceive ourselves into thinking we are God's servants. Our excuses for holding back are the bars on the windows and the lock on the door; not only do they keep us inside, they keep God outside.
I think Rick Warren's closing paragraph of this chapter offers an excellent point for each of us to ponder. "If you are not involved in any service or ministry, what excuse have you been using? Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid. That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you too, if you stop making excuses."
Break out of the prison of your comfort zone. Find, embrace, and give yourself to the purpose for which God has uniquely designed YOU.
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.