Why are Christians unwilling to step up to the plate to become the ministers God has called them to be?
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe. In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.'” (Mk. 16:15-18)
Just as in our natural lives there is a process of growth so there is in our spiritual lives. When we give our lives to Christ Jesus and become born again we are babes in Christ. Like babies we have to learn how to talk and walk. Like babies we will falter, wobble, and fall on our butts. And like babies we must get up and try again. Because it is in the continuing that we get better. It is in the trying that we learn. If we never tried we couldn’t fail or succeed. Unfortunately, many babes in Christ stay as babes forever. Never making the effort to grow out of their dependency on others. Always requiring someone more mature to minister to them and never willing to cut that umbilical cord to step out on their own.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:12-14)
Many believers are conformed to the world’s mindset. Many Christians are motivated not by what they can give but by what they can get. It’s all about the benefits they can get. They have missed the whole understanding that in God’s kingdom to get you have to give. And the more you want the more you have to give. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. Why then do we expect to get blessings when we have not given blessings?
As we strive to grow and become more mature we have to make the required effort to gain knowledge, to practise, and to take risks. If we were 100% sure of success then we wouldn’t need faith. If we could do it on our own then God the Father would not have had to empower us with His Word and with His Spirit. Every day we step out we are stepping out in uncertainty. When we leave our homes each day we don’t know what we will face. But we step out nonetheless. Why is ministry any different? But we treat it differently. Instead of stepping out in uncertainty we hold back for fear of failure. Do we stay home each day because of uncertainty? No, we can’t afford to. My family wouldn’t eat and neither would I if I stayed at home. So, come what may, I step out into the unknown, uncertain world of secular work. The reward for doing so is tangible – money, status, a possible promotion, a successful career. Is it because the rewards of ministry are not seemingly tangible that many believers don’t step out or even try to determine their ministry calling? (By the way, did you know that your secular work is part of your calling? But that’s another story for another time.) I guess the perceived benefits of ministry don’t appear to outweigh the costs. Here we go again. Perception determining our choices. Warped perception causing us to miss out on fulfilling the purposes for which we were made. Until we begin to believe what God says about those things that are seen (the tangibles) being temporary and those things that are not seen (the intangibles) being eternal (2 Cor. 4:18) we will continue to apply a worldly cost benefit analysis and not step out in ministry.
What are the some of the perceived costs that keep us from stepping into our ministry calling? Loss of reputation; embarrassment; no financial reward; sacrifice of time, money and comfort; failure. On the other hand, the benefits far outweigh the costs but in the world’s scheme of things we don’t place the value we should on these – others not being blessed by your ministry; God’s will for you and others not being accomplished; unfulfilled purpose; less than abundant life; immaturity; not maximizing your potential.
If we are honest, the greatest hindrance to stepping out in ministry is fear of failure. But this is pride wearing the mask of fear. The pride of life is the real enemy of our fulfilling our purpose. We don’t want to look foolish, to say the wrong thing, or say it in the wrong way. Or maybe we put the opinions of our friends above that of God. We don’t want to be seen as fanatics or have our images tarnished in any way. We don’t want to open ourselves to criticism. But that is the road that Jesus chose to walk on our behalf. If we are more scared of the ridicule of man than we are of desiring to please God we will never make that step into fulfilling the potential and purpose that God preordained for our lives. Part of the problem is that God is not going to force us to step out against our will and so, somehow, we think we can get away with doing nothing. But there is a great price to pay!
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Also, I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:4-9)
“And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 25:30)
I recommend that you read the whole section on the Parable of the Talents to know God’s thoughts about not using the talents He has freely given to you to bring profit to His kingdom (Matt. 25:14-30).
Accept that you are not perfect and maybe never will be on this earth but that’s okay because God’s grace is sufficient. Rest in Him and step out today!! Start with what you have and God will give the increase!!
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1:12-14)