Monday, September 26, 2011
~ "For those in full time service to the Lord..."
I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. (1 Kings 3:12)
When we receive the answer to a prayer for a gift from God, we have a responsibility to use that gift for His purpose. If we've prayed for insight, we should use it to help nurture His people. If we've prayed for understanding, we should use it to help others understand. When we pray for patience, we should be willing to sit and listen. There are no limits to the use of these gifts the Lord bestows on us - it is a continuous and ongoing process. We don't just "listen" for a day or two, we listen until He tells us we no longer need to listen. We nurture until there is no one left to nurture. His work is not 9-5 - it is a 24/7 scenario. Yes, we do require "down time" and sleep - and there is nothing wrong with having some "personal" time - but we have committed to being His eyes and His ears, His hands and His feet.
There are some who must work at a "paying" job as well, to provide for our families and our material needs. That does not excuse us from His work while we toil. We mustn't pick and choose which of God's children we will minister to. God has placed them in our lives for a reason and they are (if they come to us, if they are members of our church congregation) our responsibility; we should hear them, help them and lead them in the manner that God has chosen. Ministering to those with whom you work can be just as important as ministering to those in your congregation.
If you are a pastor - then pastor! You cannot lead by just standing in the pulpit. Your church family needs to know that you are there to support and help them. No more than you would favor one child over another, can you afford to favor one congregant over another. Just because a woman is a walking question mark, or a man's prayer request seems utterly absurd - does not give you the right to ignore, laugh at or blow off in favor of what seems to be a more aesthetically pleasing request for assistance. You aren't in it for personal glory - you are in it for God's glory!
Not all of us fall into that "cookie cutter" that many church leaders would like. Did it ever occur to you that sometime people just need someone to listen to them, to hear what they have to say? This generally occurs with people who live alone. Often it is you, the pastor or the mentor, whose ear needs to be bent - simply because the one bending it trusts you and has faith that you will not betray them by gossiping, will not judge them by their actions and can and will offer sound advice if asked for it. Most of the time, these individuals just need someone to listen!!!
Our heavenly Father listens to all of us all the time - there are approximately 6,964,400,000 on the earth right now. He hears each and every one of us! He doesn't take time off, and He doesn't turn His back. Some of them are caught in the worship of other "gods" - yet He still hears them, He still listens - waiting for them to call to HIM!!! Some have no "god" - He listens and waits to hear them cry out for the answer to the question "is there anyone out there". When you ignore the people that God has entrusted to your care, you are telling them that they are not important; that God doesn't think they are important (no, I'm not making this up). Imagine if you cried out to God and He ignored you. How would that make you feel???
Solomon was a wise man (he wasn't perfect) - God used him with all his short comings. Wisdom is only effective when it is put into action. Knowing what actions are required means little without the will to do them. God used Solomon's weaknesses and mistakes to magnify his strengths and accomplishments. Solomon's "sins" helped to make him a better person once he saw the error of his ways. Don't fall into the pedestal or pulpit trap. Remember, when Jesus preached, He sat with the crowd! Sit with your flock, tend to them, minister to them, love them! God has placed them in your care, He has not placed you there for them to honor!