Back in Canada, there was a time when I was without a job. At that juncture I wasn’t sure which direction to head and I wasn’t too keen on continuing in the same field… As administrative assistants are paid well and I had the skills set for that, I began to apply for those posts to give me a break so to speak and to be able to explore my options after a time. However I did get rejected as I was ‘too qualified’ for it.
Here in Sri Lanka, people zoom into your strong organisational skills and decide that you need to be a secretary or help with the administration! I’m talking about (most) ministries especially. They overlook the gifts and visions that God has placed on your heart but see the gift that is useful for them. Then I think of Paul telling the people that they needed to release spirit filled people to serve at the tables as it wasn’t right for them to continue to do so when they should be ministering the word. It wasn’t about humility or lack of ‘skills’ to serve at the table but it was safeguarding and being obedient to the calling God had placed on their lives.
Many missionaries work as a ‘tent maker’ (a phrase picked up from Paul’s life) where they get an income and they serve. They seem to be financially stable and they don’t face the struggles on the field as much as one living by faith. The latter kind who live by faith are often told off, condemned and judged… and often ostracised by many Christian religious leaders.
Falling into the latter group, I have even have had cliques of once upon a time friends and acquaintances ignoring me completely. Goodness knows what wrong I have done to them, but I do know that I make them uncomfortable with my (in their eyes) ‘wrong choices’. I shouldn’t be suffering and i wouldn’t be suffering if I did missions the right way round – that’s their opinion.
Being supported by others was the ministry approach that the other disciples did do… and even Jesus was supported by the women who travelled with him. Even Paul had times where he was supported and he makes it clear that he is accepting the gift as that would be a blessing to those who were giving.
Having been on the field for over 13 years and over 10 of them living by faith, I have learnt many things while having had the intense privilege of immersing into God’s presence and His Word. God has used this time to prune me, to increasingly get rid off my worldly way of thinking… to understand the Body of Christ concept. Yes some are indeed called to be ‘tentmakers’ but despite the struggles, I’m glad I wasn’t and I see the differences in calling and anointing. Some ‘tentmakers’ work with Christian organisations. When I first came to Sri Lanka, yes I worked with Christian organisations but I often found it stifling for a few reasons – we have to work within their framework and their values, they find the role they think is right for us (and I often get the reporting and the admin roles) and your time is consumed with your commitment towards them.
I’m a visionary who operates in the prophetic… Intercession and being a friend to people are my main burdens and both of these burdens cannot be bound by time. Organisations would call it ‘counselling’ and have a stop watch to it.. but I don’t believe in working to my schedule but rather be led by God’s schedule and timing which often conflicts with organisations. Yes, I help with ministries but not as one who is employed by them.
If I was employed my ‘ministries’ have to be bound by what they would want me to do – and the remaining time will go for housework and travel. I thank God for this calling despite the often pressing struggle of finances (yet He never let me high and dry.. and all my bills have been paid and I have had some wants met too). I have had time to do what HE would want me to do, have much time with Him and quality time with others.. and now many things that He placed on my heart are beginning to come to pass.
Jesus never promises us that we will not have any troubles on earth. In fact He tells us to carry our CROSS daily. Carrying a cross indicates it will never be a smooth path and He Himself tells us that we WILL have troubles on earth!
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own – Matthew 6:34
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
He has overcome the world and He gives us His peace that transcends all understanding and not as the world gives.
If we are smooth sailing in their walk with God without troubles or persecutions or trials, then we need to ask whether we are on the right track as Jesus Himself said we have to take up the cross and we will have troubles! Besides, the enemy will rise up to thwart intimate relationships with God – that is what threatens him… Many ministries can be carried out with the wrong motives – those ministries don’t threaten Satan. It is the building up of God’s Kingdom that he doesn’t want and will try hard to kill steal and destroy that.
If God isn’t behind it even good works mean nothing!
Martha was distracted by many things to serve Jesus but was rebuked by Jesus while He said that Mary had chosen what is better.
The test is how are we responding in the light of troubles? If His peace isn’t with us then of course we have to question if we this test is permitted by God or whether it is our wrong choices.
If we want to judge another person’s struggles or troubles or their approaches to life that are different from ours, that’s our choice (unless of course God has clearly shown us)… but the consequences will also be ours too.. What is there to say that we are wrong in our understanding or not as intimate with God as the other person we are condemning?
It’s by our love for one another that we are to be known to be disciples of Jesus!