For Ego or Calling?
I was the head of a department in the campus ministry I was in while in the university . It was a cool experience, more importantly I learnt a lot about life, leadership and collaborating with others to achieve a common goal. I made some unpardonable mistakes; I shocked myself by some of my achievements too. Then came the time for me to handover and – as was expected of me – to accept the nomination for a higher position. I didn’t want the new position I had been nominated for. It was for a bad reason though: I felt I had had enough of the backlash I got for the mistakes I made in the old one.
Therefore I sat before the vetting committee and timidly refused to take up the opportunity to serve God in a higher capacity. Very few things I have experienced in my entire life can be compared to the emotional roller coaster I went through afterwards. I felt I had disappointed my superiors. I felt like a coward for choosing the easy way out. Most traumatizing of all, I felt I had disappointed my Maker. But hey, God makes all things beautiful in His own time, doesn’t he? All things work together for the good of they that love God, don’t they? Fast-forward, my roommates and I signed up to attend the Berea Bible Academy that semester. The meeting times of the Bible Academy would have clashed with the meeting times of the executives of my campus ministry. Basically, I couldn’t have attended classes at Berea (as we affectionately called it) had I accepted the nomination. The Berea Bible Academy was such a blessing to me that nobody can convince me God hadn’t purposed it for me at that point in my life. I owe so much of my knowledge of scripture to Berea. Anytime I look back, I think to myself, so what if I had accepted the nomination? Would I have pleased man, my ego or my God? Was it my calling to be promoted to a higher position or to attend the Berea Bible Academy? Your guess is as good as mine.
Not all “God-sized” visions are from God. Many are from a god-sized ego, and have no claims on God’s provision.
— JR Vassar (@jrvassar) August 18, 2016
The conversation that ensued between Jesus and the woman at the well is one that has enormous relevance to various aspects of our walk with God. Jesus’ response to the woman’s question for example, is one that carries so much weight. He told her there was a time coming when the true worshipers of God would worship God in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. Often we stress on the part that requires us to worship God in spirit. Which simply means, nothing physical – geographical location, artifacts, paraphernalia etc. – should determine the quality of our worship. I don’t have to travel from Ghana to Jerusalem to offer worship to God anymore. It used to be like that though. However, we mostly turn a blind eye to the second part that suggests we must worship God in TRUTH. To worship God in truth means to worship God in sincerity and in all honesty. Since worship and sacrifice are synonymous in Christianity, it means we must offer our acts of worship or sacrifice to God in sincerity. Therefore, do not sign up for a task that you cannot do and later resign.
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God – Luke 9:62
Remember Ananias and Saphira? This is exactly what killed them. They pledged to offer God the full amount of the property they sold. So when they withheld a certain portion of the whole amount, it cost them their lives. What if they had pledged to give half of the amount they sold the property for and redeemed the pledge? Would they have died? Certainly not! All I am saying is, DO NOT BITE MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW. I am in no way promoting sluggishness or laziness when it comes to working for the Lord. All I am saying is, in all sincerity, take up the tasks that you can do and trust in the Grace of God to empower you to do it. It is better this way than to opt to work for God in a certain capacity that your faith won’t allow you to trust God enough to see you through. Our walk with God is based on faith. The just shall live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. We all don’t have the same level of faith. Therefore, if the complexity of the task you desire to do is too much for your faith in GOD to carry you through it, just let it go… maybe for a later time.
I still have a feeling most people might misinterpret what I have said so far, so here is another reference. In Numbers 11, Moses encountered this very problem. He was leading a rebellious generation of 600,000 men on foot. They murmured and challenged his leadership every chance they got. One man leading 600,000 men was certainly more meat in his mouth than he could chew. After Moses complained bitterly, God instructed him to select 70 elders from the tribes of Israel and the Lord himself took of the spirit that was upon Moses and placed it on the 70 also. Imagine the relief that Moses felt. It means he was doing the work of 71 men all that while and didn’t even know it. The stress!
Undue fame, exposure and recognition can kill you. That is how David orchestrated the death of Uriah. He ordered that Uriah be positioned at the place where the battle was fiercest. Usually the soldiers who fight in that position are the ones who come back home with ample stories to tell of their heroic deeds. Uriah wasn’t qualified to be fighting in that position. Nevertheless, it is sad that in his case he couldn’t have declined the order because it was a decree from the king. But here is a typical example of what I have been saying all along. He was killed because he got promoted. In fact, he was promoted to be killed. All was lost because the spotlight was placed on him. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. True. A deeper truth is, God calls those he can qualify. Therefore if he knows you won’t be fully yielded to him to work through you, he won’t put the weight of your ministry on you. He cares for your soul as much as he cares for the souls he will save through you. This is why sometimes we see very anointed men and women of God serving in lower capacities or away from the public eye. Stephen is a typical example of this. By my estimation, Stephen was as anointed as any of the Apostles. Stephen was chosen together with 6 others to serve food on tables to widows. He was assigned to serve food like a waiter. Meanwhile the bible describes him as “… a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”. Yet he was ordered to serve food on tables. Stephen was the first martyr ever! The first person to be killed for his faith in God after the death of Christ. His knowledge of scripture was impeccable (Check out his speech to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7). He understood the things of God and operated in spiritual gifts. Still, he was assigned to serve food on tables.
If you’re desiring for God to grow your platform… just understand what you’re really asking is to increase your capacity to serve others.
— Ezekiel Azonwu (@wordsbyezekiel) August 16, 2016
Not every opportunity to minister in a certain capacity is the will of God for you. Sometimes we accept these opportunities to tickle our egos. We may have genuine reasons why we would want to serve God in a higher capacity, but we need to understand that a higher capacity is just more grounds to serve more people.
How will you know if an opportunity to serve God in a certain capacity comes from God himself? I believe one sure way to know this is when you don’t desire to get noticed, recognized or rewarded by man for your work in that capacity. In all this, it is imperative to trust that God can promote any and everyone and still work on them to fit into that position. Would you still do what you do if you wouldn’t get noticed by man? Knowing that your father who sees you in secret will reward you openly is enough motivation to serve God in any capacity. It is the motive of your actions that matter and not how visible they are to man.
References: Numbers 11, Acts 6 and 7 and John 4