“I wish I were on the Christian spoken word scene more.”
“Why have I not been released into full-time ministry yet?”
“I have so much more to offer than this!”
These are the thoughts that have run through my mind at various times during the past few years. I’ve struggled with the idea that I could be doing so much more for the Kingdom and that I was being “underused.” But… The Lord has spoken to me in that gentle soft voice to give me a very loud and clear message: Don’t get beside yourself son. Whew! That is a word of rebuke to say the least! So this piece of hard candy is focusing on the reality that we are only vessels to be used for His glory. This means being used the way He wants to use us and how He desires to use us at any given time. Often times, or should I say almost all of the time, we want
to be used by Him on our own terms.
Over the course of my life, I’ve had a lot of situations where I was involved in some sort of team effort and have many times felt like my ideas weren’t given enough consideration and that my talents were underutilized. I would become enraged on the inside and would feel like a caged bird. I remember pondering this one day during my quiet time with the Lord and I heard Him so clearly: It wasn’t your time son.
So I want to take some time to encourage and/or correct whoever reads this if this is an area where you might have struggled or still think about. You see, we live in a country where there is such a pervasive entitlement mentality. For this particular situation, I am speaking of the belief that we are entitled to certain things based upon our level of gifting or talents. Or even our backgrounds. For example, the young woman who has a singing voice that can rival that of Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey is likely going to be led to believe that she is supposed to be a recording artist. The man who went to Harvard Business School believes that he should eventually be the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation. Well I got news for you folks! The Kingdom of God doesn’t work that way! We have to remember that we are all created for His good pleasure and that He has a specific purpose and plan for our lives. It is all about advancing the gospel and reconciling the lost back to Him. Nothing more, nothing less. We all have different ways of carrying out the great commission and our gifts and talents are to be used for this purpose.
As I have been pondering this over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has given me some reasons why people are not operating in their gifting and/or may be seemingly be used at a level that doesn’t appear very significant. Actually there are SEVERAL different reasons and scenarios but I am going to focus on the ones in which I’m feeling led to share:
- It’s not your season
We all know that God is all about timing because He is so strategic in His plans. He’s going to use us when He knows we can be the most effective for the Kingdom and we just have to sit back and wait. You may already have the character that is necessary. You may already be walking in a good place with Him. It’s just not your time yet.
- More healing and deliverance is needed
It is not good to minister to others out of a heart that has wounds that are festering. God is actually protecting His children from you in some cases because you will cause damage to His Kingdom. He is waiting for you to come to Him and make your healing and deliverance a priority over your desire to be used.
- He is yearning for you to be with Him
Now granted, this is always going to be the case every minute and every second of our lives. But I’m talking about those who want to be used who don’t have a deep enough personal relationship with Him. You want to be used by Him but don’t know Him well enough for yourself. Do you value being “used” more than spending time with Him? It could also be that you have placed too much of your self-worth in your talents and even your so-called status. This is referred to as the “pride of life.” The book of Ecclesiastes talks about this. He wants you to find your affirmation in Him alone. He wants vessels not performers. Ponder that.
- What is “insignificant” to you is likely SIGNIFICANT to Him
And that’s all that matters. A good mentor friend of mine has said on many occasions that God often detests the things that man values. In our flesh, it is impossible to know the impact we are having in the spirit realm which we can’t see in the natural. Another friend of mine says that he would rather be significant than popular. Being seen and operating under titles means NOTHING to Him. Obedience is what matters to Him. So relax, the “insignificant” things you are doing may very well pay you eternal dividends.
- He is building your character
The last thing God wants is for your gifts to take you places where your character can’t keep you. He desires for you to remain a worthy vessel that can be used in high places and He is looking for His children whom He can trust. What are your motives? Can He trust you with a certain mode of operation in His Kingdom? Can He trust that you won’t become conceited or even turn away from Him when worldly success manifests? Are you able to operate by the Holy Spirit at all times so you can handle any situation that may arise? To whom much is given, much is required. Ponder these things.
We have to know that it is all about Him. Your gifts, talents and abilities don’t matter as much as you might think. The Kingdom does not need your gifts. God gave them to you in the first place and He can always give an assignment to someone else.
Another point to consider also is that you might desire to be used in a way that is not even on God’s radar. Yes you have the gifts and talents, and you will use them at specific times, but there might be a totally different path that He has laid out for you. We have no choice but to believe that it is the best possible path that exists, despite what we may desire or believe. He knows when and how we should be used to make the most impact for the Kingdom. So yes, the girl with the anointed voice might just serve on the usher board or live next door to you. The man who went to Harvard may get called to the mission fields in some third world country. Also remember, things are not always what they seem. Some people who seem to have been elevated or who are operating at a seemingly “high” level are completely out of God’s will! Their efforts are totally in vain! A day late and a dollar short; in the spiritual sense. You may not enjoy the way that God is using you, but it is all apart of being that living sacrifice. But I also know that He cares and sometimes we have to settle for joy instead of happiness. It won’t be this way always. Your situation can change even in this earthly life. So relax, God knows your potential! If you cooperate with Him, He will get the maximum results out of you.
July 6, 2011 at 9:12 am
VERY WELL SAID… and clearly on point. I love the ease at which this critical message to believers flowed from you. Holding on to that “entitlement” mentality can cost a believer everything….
July 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm
All I can say is “thank you”. You have shed light on the very subject that has been on my mind relative to my calling in His Ministry. As I ponder the “whether to” or “whether not”, I sometimes feel completely isolated because no one understands why “I ask God to speak to me directly, so that I clearly see His direction”. They simply say, “He is telling you through me or through him/her”. I serve God passionately just because He is God and I desire to walk in His Power, so many folks think I ought to preach. Well I do, just not from the pulpit……until or if He says so.
July 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm
….and they say there’s no such thing as “perfect”! Thanks for setting the record straight. This piece was written with sheer perfection. You know it’d have to be when there is no comment from me. (: I recognize that perfection need not be tampered with….Keep up the GREAT work luv….it is so very obvious that the Word of God is sharpening you. luvumuch!
Angel aka PrayzQueen
July 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm
Great piece – very challenging.
Consider the bamboo tree that has to be continually watered and fertilized and it appears as though nothing is happening within the first couple of years . However after the 4 th year it blossoms into a huge tree over 50 feet . We need to renew our minds and realize that assigments develop and grow us gradually to our fullest potential. We live in a society that is used to manufacturing things overnight – 7 day diet to lose so many pounds or 30 day makeover to be a new you. Reality of life – that is not the way things work .
Let us learn to be patient as the Lord works in us and for us and for his own glory . At the end of the day we are not our own but we belong to The Lord and we need to let him be the potter.
August 11, 2011 at 10:36 am
Great teaching Nathan. It spoken volumes to me and made me reassess somethings in my own life. I appreciate you being obedience to share it. Keep up the great work!
Tarsha L. Campbell