The past few weeks have been unsettling. Ministry decisions have been made and directions have been taken that have had what might be considered negative consequences. And I have wondered if I have messed up future opportunities to preach at different churches. One can easily fall prey to a ministry mindset that to be used of God has a great deal to do with the pastors and ministry leaders you know. So, I have been saying to myself, “Look how you have basically alienated yourself from all the people that you thought would use you as an evangelist. Are you sure you made the right decision?” All I could see was failure right out of the gate. “Ronnie, you failed as a pastor and now you are going to fail God again. You just must not be hearing God right.”
I walked into Wednesday night Bible study last week with this weighing heavy on my heart. My pastor has been having different preachers in the church preach on Wednesday night. This particular evening a retired pastor from Florida was preaching and God used him to speak a word to my needy heart. He was preaching on the call of God to Abram. At the close of his message he said the following:
You have a ministry received of God. The opposite of receiving a ministry is achieving a ministry. To achieve something resonates with the idea of self-assertion; it’s physical. To receive something is to be the recipient of something. You have a ministry that you received of God. Jack Taylor said years ago, “You can either have an achieved ministry or a received ministry.” An achieved ministry is all worked up. A received ministry is prayed down. An achieved ministry looks to statistics and numbers. The received ministry looks to the Throne. The achieved ministry is competitive and comparing. The received ministry realizes that it’s going to take every single one of us to do God’s work. The achieved ministry is laborious and tiring. The received ministry finds satisfaction and strength. The achieved ministry fails even though it seems to succeeded and the received ministry succeeds even though it seems to fail. God has called you and if you look to the throne, realize the blessings of God, and it’s all about Him, beloved we are winners, winners, winners.
Man, I needed that! I needed to be reminded that I’m not in this by myself! That God is the keeper of the keys and not myself! That I don’t have to know the right person or be approved by the right group to be used of God! The ministry that I want is not the one that I can make, but what God can make through me. This is an old lesson (for sure), but one I really needed to learn again right now!