2006-02-18 - Am I Serving Where God Has Called Me?
Greetings My Friends,
I have always wanted to leave the US, and for me, the idea of being a missionary was a way that I could accomplish this. I told God that I was waiting for Him to call me, that I'm ready to go! God knew the intentions of my heart. I wanted to use the missionary field to escape what I had trouble with here - family and friends, and not being broken before Him and burdened for people.
For me to serve as a full-time missionary would be wrong. Mind you, the need for missionaries is very real, and if God is calling you to the mission field, then do be obedient to his call. But as for me, I would not be being obedient to God at this point, and would have just been doing it as an escape for my own benefit, if I went. Each of us needs to know what God has called us to do and be doing that. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself about your ministry calling:
What are my ministry gifts?
Make a list of your gifts. Please don't think they have to be just teaching and preaching. Include compassion, philanthropy, healing, mentoring, etc.
Which of my gifts have I seen God use to produce the most fruit in the past?
Do you say that you really haven't been involved in any ministries? Get involved, and see what God blesses and what fulfills you. As aforementioned, don't limit yourself to teaching and speaking. Try lots of ministries.
Speaking, for me, is a good one; my biggest problem is what to speak. However, when God starts speaking in me, through His Word, I can't seem to stop.
Generally speaking, the calling of the Lord does not change, but bear in mind that there are seasons when God uses one gift or another to produce fruit. For example, before Paul was in imprisoned in Rome, his ministry fruit came through his speaking. After he was imprisoned, his fruit came through the writing of letters (that we are still reading) and one-on-one mentoring.
Which ministry gifts give me the most satisfaction?
Here is a surprise: God made us to take pleasure from our service for Him. That doesn't mean it won't be hard sometimes or scary, but it does mean that we will we be doing what comes naturally, as we grow spiritually.
A few final words: First, there are spiritual gift tests, books, and classes - and they are helpful. Take advantage of them. But mostly, let the Holy Spirit guide you. Finally, I was talking to a pastor yesterday and he had concerns that the Southern Baptists always ended up with Christ at the end of their church services. In other words, the pastor's sermon isn't just a teaching lesson to mature believers. My response to him came right from God it seemed. And that is that the Bible - starting from Genesis - points forward to Christ, and the Bible, starting from Revelation, points back to Christ. The Holy Spirit points to Christ. Christ is at the center of everything. He is the purpose for ministry, and His Purpose for ministry is to seek and save the lost.
So ministry is not about you or me. It's not about what we get out of it that is what makes it important. We do get pleasure from our service, and that's one of many benefits that God does give us. However - it's not about us.
Your Friend in Christ Jesus,