I’m an addict, and I live for the buzz. My drug of choice is not alcohol, cigarettes or even caffeine. I have never had illegal narcotics…not even a single joint. I seldom watch TV and try to work as little as possible. While I must strive like any man to stay clean from sexual sin or lustful thoughts, this is not even the source of my greatest temptation. Oh, no…my greatest struggle is something far more subtle.
Most people wouldn’t see any problem with my habit. They would think me nuts for even viewing my addiction as a problem. They might say something like, “Here goes Chaille trying to over spiritualize everything.”
Can something good ever really be bad? Can doing the works of God ever be considered a bad habit? Sure, if it is not really the works of God, if it is the works of self in “Christian” costumes.
My addiction is ministry. I would go to the ends of the world to minister to people if it fed my cravings. I love the feeling of helping others and being a “Christian” leader. It’s great when you can see people respond and someone walk away with a smile on their face. I love it when people come up and share about how what I have done has impacted their life. It’s great to be at a place where everybody knows your name.
The ministry trap is so subtle. But it is just as ever bit as deadly as easily recognizable sins like lust, drugs or or alcohol. It has its root in self exaltation and pride. Ministry gives ministers a place, a reason to be, and a sense of self worth. But this is idolatry. Oh, this is the very kind of service that Jesus hated. Time and time again, He criticized the Pharisees for doing it. Ministry is never about people or their needs. And it is certainly not about how it makes us feel. Ministry exists to honor God.
True service starts with a right heart, the proper motives. The goal is not man’s happiness but God’s glory. Happiness comes as a mere by-product. Ministry is not the means to a selfish end. No, it is the way to death and a selfless life.
God never called us to be busy for Him. Instead, God wants us to be in a love relationship with Him and to do what He calls us to do. Ministry should never start out of presumption or doing what others do. Ministry results from a call by God.
A while back, I read where Jesus talked about the harvest being plentiful but the workers are few. I couldn’t figure out why Jesus told His disciples to pray instead of encouraging them to go out and work. As I prayed and asked God about this, the Spirit revealed to me that God never sends out a worker without a call, and a call starts with prayer. God must first make sure that our hearts are pure. He wants our focus to be on Him and not the mission field. If our focus is on man, then we are setting ourselves up for failure.
When times get tough, the person ministering out of bad motives or without a call from God will become burdened. They may become disillusioned and leave God’s work. They feel like a failure and run from God. Secretly, in their heart, they harbor resentment toward God because the ministry thing did not work out. But when we serve out of a call, we will fight through tough times and love stubborn people. Persecution or the lack of results will not shake the person ministering out of a call.
God never ever wants us to just go out there and do something for Him. That may sound spiritual. But it is really just carnal thinking.
Oh God, forgive me for chasing the good instead of Your best. May I minister only out of a divine call never out of guilt or selfish motives. Heal the areas in my heart that make me run to man for affirmation. You give me worth, purpose and life. I am loved by You, that reality is all I need.Jesus, lead me to the field You want me to tend. May I be content in all things knowing that You are faithful. Amen!