The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.”
While in Cardiff looking for a job, I was also reintegrating with a student ministry in Britain. To that end, one of the key leaders Phil Watson, had invited me to come and live with him in his house. It was good being back in a house where all of those living there were contributing to a ministry. That focus tended to pull us all together in a very helpful way.
It was however, rather an odd situation for I had been in the leadership of a ministry in El Paso but here in Britain I was largely an unknown quantity moving sideways into an established ministry. The leadership structure was already up and running, so there was no place for me, except as someone who happened to be involved. Ted, the ministry leader knew me as a person but was far from up to date in a ministry context. The result was that I felt a bit of insecurity and a desire to prove myself. It was quite easy to justify this. Here I am with all of these abilities being left to go wasted. If people knew what I could do then I could be useful for the Kingdom of God.
The means of proving myself were also quite straight forwards, I could share ideas from the Bible and past experiences. I had a good enough knowledge of the Bible to be able to challenge the views of others ... Yet in all this there was something very very wrong. I soon began to realise what it was.
In the first place when I set about trying to prove myself, the focus of the conversation was not on my Lord and saviour but on ME. Even if the subject was something spiritual, I was not proving Jesus, I was proving ME, What is more, the fruit of these conversations was that I was the one who was getting the attention.
In the second place, I discovered that my whole outlook turned from being someone who was setting out to learn from God to one who was consumed with the need to make a point that would get noticed. I could not rest if there was a discussion about a subject for which I had a point to make. I had to make that point or bust. With that kind of attitude I could not really listen to what other people were saying, I was too busy waiting for that split second pause in the conversation so I could launch in with “MY” contribution.
In the end I realised that I was looking at the ministry as some kind of machine or team in which each human factor must be used to the utmost in order to be successful. The reality however is that the ministry is God’s and he is sovereign. He was perfectly capable of involving me in any way that he wanted, if he wanted. My way out from this trap was to give thanks to him for the position he had given - of no position. It was to trust him for any ministry he would chose to give, being content even if it was nothing.
Having come to this place of realisation and resting it is interesting that I was asked to take over leading the discussion of one of the Bible studies that I was involved in. Not that God had to because I had a right attitude now, but out of his great grace he chose to.