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Ministry Or Life?

How many times have you heard the phrase “ministry” used as something that we are supposed to do? I have had many conversations over the past few years circling around this perspective and my heart has become increasingly troubled. In fact when I talk with people who detail all that they are doing it truly breaks my heart. It pains me to see people perpetuate the frantic pattern I know all too well.

So often we use ministry as a focal point, a measuring stick if you will, for how effective and pleasing our life is to God.  We often encourage others to “find their ministry” or join someone’s ministry. We often muddle through our day that is not “ministry” as if it is second rate. We dismiss many of the events of our days as something we have to deal with until we can give or receive “ministry.”

I was the chief offender in this way for a long time and perhaps that is why God has been stirring it on my heart. I worked 40-55 hours a week at my job, volunteered at various ministries, wrote books, did speaking engagements, and so many more things.

Then came cancer and life changed drastically. Everything I had endured in my day to day life that I chalked up to “what I had to do” which was earn a living so I could  then do “ministry” stopped. The problem is, in my life before, I was so exhausted and empty that ministry was the one thing for which I was not often well prepared. Certainly I studied, prepared etc but my spirit was weary, my body broken and exhausted. When I was diagnosed with stage four cancer my world turned upside down. It is because of the slow pace of this last year that I am now revisiting these “ministry moments” and the perspective that so often comes with them.

The lesson I am seeing , and trying to learn for myself, is to live. God doesn’t call us to ministry, He calls us to life in Him. It’s not about what we “do” for Him it’s about the time we take relating to Him. God didn’t create the Garden of Eden as a place of work. He created it as a place where He could come, walk with and relate with man. It was a place of life and rest which was then a well from which He brings forth His kingdom. We will never be able to “do ministry” enough to be worthy or acceptable. He never calls us to. He says seek me and you will find me.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

He calls us to live with Him, seeking means to set aside time in His presence. Time where we are simply focused on relating to Him. Our seeking isn’t about doing things, it’s about yielding to Him. Stopping all the crazy, busy, go go go pace we set for ourselves and just choosing life in Him. He knew when Adam and Eve sinned that the beautiful place of covenant blessings He intended for us would be lost. However He also set about to restore us to that place through the death of Jesus. Jesus restored everything to us so that we could enter into the presence of God. He gave us the ability to live life so why do we spend so much time doing anything but living?

Over this past year I stand amazed at how many conversations God has opened up to share the gospel with others. It’s not because I am pounding the pavement looking for chances to “minister.” It’s because as I live in and with Him He opens doors into the hearts of people.

My prayer is constantly that God will be glorified in and through me but I know that will only happen if I draw from the well of relationship with God. I pray that like Moses descending from Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:35)  my face shines so brightly that others are drawn to it and that they are hungry to know the source.

Friends, we are entering a new season and it is so important that we settle the identity crisis in the church and align ourselves with what God is doing here and now. Ministry moments that may have worked before are no longer working because it is a new season, and we are called to deeper life with Him. We are called to embrace all that He says we are and to live it, not in our strength but in our surrender to His will. Let us throw aside the ministry driven perspective and walk with Him in the cool of our day. Let our wells be so full that His presence overflows and floods everywhere we go. Let us live and love and leave the ministry up to God. He will pour it out when He desires and if we are yielded to His presence we will show others how to find and live in His kingdom.

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Excellent perspective! We are least effective when we are focused on our performance and work. It’s a trap. We are partners with God for ministry and need to remember that. We do our part and God does His part.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Romans 8:28 (AMP)

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