Why are you in ministry? Where is your heart when you go up to the platform? Where is your mind when you come down from it?
Are your eyes open to see the people in need of a hug and five minutes of your time or
is your heart more concerned in getting affirmed by the people you admire?
It is beautiful when we feel called by God and we decide to pour
out everything we are in His hands to serve His Kingdom, but
when the years pass by and we get the hang of the mechanics of
ministry we need to be intentional in taking care of our hearts.
May this be a reminder for you to make a quick assessment if we
are doing exactly what The Lord called us to do and not what we
assume He wants us to be doing.
Acts 8:5-24 mentions an interesting story about Phillip in
Samaria, the text mentions that the disciples were scattered by
the persecution and they would preach the gospel wherever they
went because that was part of who they were. So when Phillip got
to Samaria, he would preach the gospel, the signs would follow
the preaching of the Word of God and people started paying close
attention to what he said.
Isn’t it great when we feel that we are in the right place sharing
what God wants us to and people are paying close attention to it?
At that same city there was a man called Simon, he was a sorcerer,
if you look into the Greek root word we could say he used magical
arts to get the attention of the people.
There were some differences between him and Phillip though,
Simon was used to boast about himself as someone who was
great. He would do things to assure he had the affirmation of the
people even to the point of being called as The Great Power of
Peter and John went to Samaria after hearing that many of them
were believing the gospel, so they could receive the Holy Spirit.
Even Simon ended up believing and getting baptized, he would
follow Phillip to see everything that God was doing through him
in the city.
Verse 18 says that Simon observed that people would receive the
Holy Spirit when Peter and John laid their hands on them and he
tried to offer them money in order to get the same ability.
Both Phillip and Simon learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ
and believed it, they walked close to it and even saw it coming to
life with signs and miracles happening right in front of them
But their major difference was their heart!
Phillip was sharing the gospel out of the abundance of his life and
heart wherever God sent him, but Simon saw the gospel as a new
tool or “magic art”, if you will, to maintain the affirmation and
attention from his people, not letting it confront his ways of
thinking and doing life.
So back to our heart assessment, are you doing what God has
called you to do with your full heart available to still be
confronted and transformed? Here are three points that could
help us reflect and analyze ourselves.
When we do what we assume God wants us to do we usually do not take time to listen to His directions and corrections, we just want to make sure we are doing everything that looks right in the right way. The problem is that even with good intentions we can end up hearing what we do not want from the Lord: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
When we do what we assume God wants us to do we get attached and conditioned by positions, titles and recognition of our accomplishments. It is true that we live in a culture of merit and we get conditioned to show our accomplishments in order to earn respect and feel that we are growing in life, while Jesus shows us what real leadership is: The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12
When we do what we assume God wants us to do we end up corrupting His covenant, using His church, His word and His Gospel wickedly as one more tool to get us the flattery and affirmation for our weary and broken hearts instead of diving into His Presence to fulfil our needs. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Daniel 11:32.
One of our greatest mistakes as leaders is moving forward by
assuming we are doing what God wants us to do just because it
seems right. Just as it happened with Simon He was willing to
pledge his own resources to receive ability, but God gave
wisdom to the elders at the time to confront the motives of his
hearts, giving him a chance to repent: “Repent of this
wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive
you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you
are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:22-23.
In reality we are called to abide in Christ: “I am the vine; you
are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will
bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
Take this time to pray before the Lord and hear the Holy Spirit
guide you to what matters to His heart. The first thing that
need to matter most to us as ministers is to get to know His
heart and make it known in the most simple way possible.
- Monica Dollo Martins, Director of Operations at Kingdom Global Ministries