This post is actually an article I wrote for a friend’s site – a “non-religious” approach to serving Christ. It is a more distilled version of some of the thoughts I shared in my previous post – finding meaning when dreams die. God continues to bring my attention back to HIS limitlessness in accomplishing His purposes, even in the midst of much brokeness. He is AMAZING!
As a young believer, I had big dreams of going across the globe and ministering in various places as I pursued what I thought my calling (prophetic teacher and encourager) should look like. Shortly after taking the first steps toward these dreams the bottom fell out and I was faced with the reality of long term health conditions and my inability to pursue or sustain the dreams I had once had.
This past summer I spoke to a church leader about all the ideas I still carry and my longing to be well enough to “do” and put these things into practice in my local church. Her response to me was simply, “You don’t need to do all these things. Just become friends with some of the ladies and you will make a great difference that way.” More than just a comforting remark, there seemed to be something of solid reality in that word.
Months later I returned home from a ladies meeting at church. My husband asked me how it was. I said, “Well, I think I sat at the wrong place. For five minutes I had gotten up from my seat and visited in another part of the room and the ladies were engaging, asking questions and we had a great time. But then I went back to where I had been seated and it was hard again. I was the one initiating almost all the conversation with the person beside me. I just feel I wanted someone to sit with that could have made me feel like I belonged.”
My husband responded by saying: “So why did you go back to sit at the same place if you had such a good time around the other ladies?” I said, “Because I didn’t want the lady I was sitting beside to feel rejected or alone. She didn’t know anyone else there really.” My husband replied: “Well, then you were at the right table, because you just spent the night loving Jesus.”
At that point, a light went on and suddenly, instead of feeling empty, I felt full: I had just “ministered” without even realizing it simply by being myself. In so doing, I had given the very gift I had wanted to experience that night: a sense of belonging.
As I reflected on these things I remembered a prophetic word I had received a couple weeks prior which went something like this: “You feel like you’ve been on the shelf as far as ministry goes, but God says He has a place of ministry for you. But you’re not going to even have to do anything. You just need to show up and be yourself, and people are going to know God loves them because you have loved them. They are going to feel included and not forgotten because they have known your friendship.”
Considering all this, I guess it’s time I accept that ministry is a lot simpler than travelling around the world to share what God has given me. It’s as simple as seeing those around me with compassion and reaching out to them with love. It’s not so much about “doing” as it is “being,” even as the kingdom of God is not about achieving results but bearing fruit (John 15:5).
Taking things a step further, I can only conclude that heavenly calling, unlike human dreams and ambitions is something that flows from the very fibre of who we are and hence, is not contingent upon external things. That is to say that no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, whatever direction our lives may take we can still fulfill the mandate of what God has made us for, by simply being who He has made us to be.
Calling is simply the unique expression of Christ’s life in you and through you. Hence, although its form may change, and its expression be more difficult in some instances than others, yet the life of God in a believer can never be snuffed out and neither its innate purpose (life begetting life).
I can’t help thinking of Paul the apostle at this point. The word “apostle” means “sent one,” and yet, over the centuries, Paul has reached more people through the fruit of his times in prison (the epistles), than in all his years of traveling and preaching! That’s not to mention the strengthening of the Church that came about as the result of his bearing up under the burden of prison!
As for me, I can also attest that the years of dealing with “imprisonment” in regard to limitations imposed by health and circumstances have probably produced more kingdom fruit in me and maybe even through me than travelling the world could have done. Moreover, I am still fulfilling my calling to teach others about the things of God; only instead of prophesying before congregations and teaching at conferences, I am set among those God puts on my path to prophesy through words of encouragement and to teach through an example of love (1 Cor. 14:3).
Clearly, my limitations do not hinder God’s unlimited creativity and grace in my life. In fact, like Jesus, by sharing in the sufferings of mankind, I am being perfected into the likeness of the Son of Man to minister to the sons of men. Even so, God is fulfilling His mandate in this world through me because Christ, the Hope of glory – the limitless life of God is living in me! (Col. 1:27-28). And it’s the same for each of us who bear that Name. Yes, it’s as simple as being in Christ, living in Christ, and loving in His love.
Dec 25 2011