Earlier on today I was speaking to a friend overseas.. I have been friends with him from even before I embarked on my missionary journey. We were reflecting on our individual journeys today – how God has led us and changed us.
I couldn’t help but smile after ending the call. Mr.I.Am.Independent aka Mr.God.Has.Given.Me.Wisdom.And.Ability.to.earn.whatever.I.want (and who was achieving just that) went through a process of God teaching him otherwise. After a stage of resisting God’s calling to full time ministry, he has now been brought to the stage of learning to sit still and not striving. Obviously he is struggling with that after having been the ‘male’ Martha who needs to keep ‘doing’. I empathise with him as I myself have come through the stage of being a perfectionist and striving for excellence and towards ‘achievement’ and ‘advancement’.
Yes God gives us ability to produce wealth. Yet when God told the Israelites just that, it was soon after He had brought them through the wilderness for 40 longggggg years (that’s about half a lifetime for us!). Despite them not working but just following Him ‘aimlessly they would have thought’, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet swell. He later tells them that He gave them manna to humble them, that they may say ‘my strength and power gave me this wealth’ but clarifies that it is He who gives the ability to do so.
Do do do…It is our fleshly nature that wants to strive… Sitting still, waiting on the Lord is one difficult task. It’s almost as if we can trust ourselves to make things happen but unable to trust in the Creator to bring things to pass in His time, in His way, according to His perfect and pleasing will.
We forget that God created us as human BEINGs not human DOINGs. These last couple of years I could say quite often where ever I turn, God’s Rhema word leaps out at me, “The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still’ (Exodus 14:14).
Yet we as human ‘doers’ tend to be pretty arrogant thinking we can make things happen, we can strive and earn – and then get carried away. Is it of any wonder that Jesus said ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”! Yes, it could be for ‘ministry’ but we need to be wary of being self sufficient and getting carried away – away from God’s perfect will. “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial”.
Besides the Body of Christ has been placed such that each have their own gifts and callings:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness – Romans 12:6-8
Not following the leading of the Holy Spirit every step of the way is what disobedience (sin) is all about. God makes it clear that our gifts ‘differ’ and we are to use the gift given to us – not try to use the gift given to another. An ear may desire to ‘see’ and plonk itself in the eye socket standing in the way of the functioning of the eye and also causing a ‘lack’ in the ear.The entire body of Christ then goes in circles with the blind leading the blind. Likewise the ‘pastor’ or ‘leader’ of the church may desire to be the head and take that role instead of realising the head is no one but Christ.. In the process such a leader prohibits the functioning of the part as God placed it.
Often we want to be ‘doing’ and in the process of ‘doing’ we do jump into operating in the other gifts Yes, to a certain extent we all step in to some of the other gifts.. having faith, serving one another,sharing with those in need, acts of mercy are all required by a believer. However some have the ‘gift’ for it and thus operate in a stronger dominant extent according to the grace God has given. For example, never would I have thought I would live by faith.. but God has led me away from earning money to live by faith for 10 years now. That’s a ‘gift’ from Him by His grace. Likewise for some others God gives a gift of contribution (giving) in generosity and thus they will have the finances and provisions in over flow when they operate in it. The ones who have this gift will thus finance the missions and ministries of those who have the gift of faith as God leads.
All parts are necessary for the body of Christ to operate together to seek the Kingdom of God. They all come together operating in their different gifts and God has strategically placed people in each other’s life accordingly. Now with the arrival of technology and social media and what not, the body of Christ has expanded to being able to operate together in a ‘global’ sense without the limitations of a ‘building’ in a particular geographical setting.
At the end of the day, if God is calling you saying, “be still and know that I am God” – do just that.. and you will waters filling the dried valleys without rain or flood, you will see ravens bringing food like with Elijah, you will see manna raining from heaven like with the Israelites…. or you will see a fresh new miracle from the living God who was the same yesterday today and forever more.
Don’t rely on yourselves – Rely on God
Well, you can choose to ‘doing’ thinking it is your hands that God relies on.. but then you can miss out on the beautiful bountiful blessing that God has for you when you take that step of faith to ‘being’. At the end of the day, we have a choice – listen to what God is telling us to do (be or do) or not listening -and the consequences are ours too.