Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. Eph. 3:20
I recently have been reminded that every so often Christian leaders and Pastors have a very serious choice to make. It seems for me that about every 3-5 years I am faced with this decision. This choice is one that determines our level of effectiveness, the growth of our faith, our level of obedience and ultimately our level of satisfaction in this life.
Regularly through the cycles of life, leadership and ministry ever one of us has to choose between stepping out further on the difficult path of faith or settling down on the well-worn seat of mediocrity.
At some point we are all familiar with both decisions. Somewhere in the genesis of our ministry or at the beginning of a new assignment we have felt our passion and excitement merge with the necessary energy to be bold and courageous enough to pray and work to see God do something bigger than our own abilities. At other times following difficulty, failure or just a lack of vision we have decided to back-off, let up and settle down.
Lest the distinction between these two decisions be misunderstood let me make clear I am not talking about becoming a sleepless work-aholic, one who ignores for the sake of work the greatest priorities in life. Every leader must first rest, spend time in the Word, Pray and lovingly serve their family.
What I am talking about is not exclusively an action it actually has more to do with vision than it does with cluttering our calendars. It’s more about faith than it is about function. Actually one may take the comfortable road of settling down and end up with more “to do” than if had they “stepped out” in bold faith for God. We limit God when we only see the task of life that we perform as his plan. The work of God is not so much about what I can do as it is trusting him for the supernatural work that only he can perform. One is settling down by marking off a list, being comfortable with weekly accomplishments. Year after year going through the motions of ministry without ever really risking anything for God’s Kingdom. This road is paved with safety, comfort, passivity, is predictable and only performs the maintenance task of life and ministry. The other is stepping out into an uncomfortable, risky, aggressive, spontaneous, sometimes controversial, yet transformational path. This path is marked by prayer and sincere belief that God wants to do something powerful in this world for the sake of the Gospel and His Glory.
The allurement of settling down has caused many to fall short of the best God has for
them. The ministry becomes a casual routine distracted by a myriad of good, safe, predictable things. The excitement is more about a fulfilling hobby, a relaxing pleasure than the unseen, unfulfilled work of God in their life and ministry. Prayer is scarce, spiritual burdens are light and sermons are little more than a last-minute, inspired download.
At the heart of this for me is the question, “what am I willing to believe God for today in my life, my family and His Kingdom in this world?” I have been blessed to watch God do some really great things. And yet it seems with each new blessing and experience of God’s grace comes the temptation to “settle down”. Isn’t this enough? Can’t we just be content, Lord? Must we step out again? Do you realize how crazy this sounds? What about my comfort? What if I fail? These questions and a thousand more are the arrows of the enemy to stifle our faith and chase us to a place of comfortable repose.
So today we are all faced with this choice. By grace let’s resist the temptation to take the broader way. Let’s believe again for the impossible, dream again for our church and it’s Gospel impact in your community. Be burdened for the person it seems is the most hopeless. Expect God to move in our churches this weekend, anticipate the unexpected transformation that accompanies the work of the Holy Spirit. Be it great or small let’s make today about stepping out not settling down!
“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” William Carey