This morning as I thought about our local church fellowship I reflected on many of the church fellowships that I have attended over the years. The majority of the church fellowships that I have been involved in including one that I pastored for 15 years often looked at a need and went to bring reparation to the need. Too often that method has the potential to burn people out.
One of the greatest difficulties in church life is to determine who we are and what we have been called to, determining our capability, seeing the potential and recognizing the responsibility to do what is needed to do. The number one killer in any church is to develop a sense of urgency that is not realistic or has no reality. Most things that are considered urgent are really found to be out of the need to be needed or misguided understanding of what God is asking. The people of God are called to operate from the rest of God. Hebrews 4:17
I remember when a new generation of video games began to appear. These included games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Whack-A-Mole. The principle behind each of these games is very similar. You gain points by overcoming various creatures. The difficulty of the game increases as your score gets higher. The reason for the difficulty is the appearance of more and more and more of the creatures. Church life often appears to be much like one of these games. No sooner do we take care of one level of existence then we feel like we are being called to another level.
Hardly settling in our hearts our last “acquisition”, solidification and resolution of a need, too frequently we sense the urgency to go and do more. I have witnessed way too many marriages, relationships and broken homes over unrealistic expectations in response to perceived urgency and need in church and ministry. I have been guilty of the “crime.” I tell you there was a point where my wife told me that the church had become my mistress.
Many of these difficulties occur with the arrival of new families and people into a fellowship, a variety of gifts within the fellowship trying to express themselves, lack of maturity and misunderstanding. On a personal level I am thankful for the house of fellowship that I belong to. We have walked through this. Yet while I travel or receive calls and e-mails from various people about the stresses in fellowship or families I am concerned. Jesus said that he only did the things that he saw the Father did. John 5:19
Recent conversations indicate thinking that includes: fear of others, lack of trust or misplaced priorities as areas of difficulty. As believers our job is to sow, to water and allow God to be responsible for the growth. He has called various members of the body of Christ to guide and instruct others. Ephesians 4:11-12
Church is not like playing the game of Pac-Man. True church involves the understanding of what it is to labor to enter his rest. Hebrews 4:11 Pure religion undefiled before the Father includes taking care of widows and orphans and living our lives above reproach. (But not to the place we burn out.) James 1:27 Yet too often the misdirection of the enemy, our misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about scripture, our minimal knowledge and intimacy of the Father cause us to stumble and place burdens upon people that were never theirs to bear.
In the coming days I believe that we are going to see a move of grace that allows not only for fellowship in intimacy with the Father but will bring about change in individuals.
Side note-Be willing to accept other gifts as they come alongside of you. Be willing to recognize the down sides of your own gifting or gift mix. In my own life as a prophetic gift, many feel like I do not have the measure of compassion or understanding that others may have. What they do not realize is I frequently come to the limitations of my own gift mix in the area of compassion. A pastoral gift or pastoral grace may have more mercy and compassion, but they may exhibit less discernment than a prophetic gift. Hence the reason we need each of the fivefold ministry in the church. Ephesians 4:11
Don’t let the enemy push you into what you are not called to do. Relax in the goodness of the Lord. The way to win this game is to embrace all that God is doing.