When I was a new Christian, one of the popular songs we listened to was David Meece's "Count the Cost." The song talked about how you need to give your whole heart to the Lord and serve: the focus was intense.
Over the years I joined churches which intensified the focus even more. You had to be in ministry all the time. If you spoke to someone with a ministry of prayer, you had to be a prayer warrior. If you were around people with a music ministry, they thought you were lax if you ￼didn't slip in and out of praise and worship all day. The Bible scholars were on you to study, study study! It took me a few years to work out that those who had a passion for their gift, sometimes couldn't see past it: thus pressure was passed onto others to use the gift the same way.
I understand. I get passionate about my gifts too and don't know how others can possibly function without them. However, the trap for me was when the pressure to always be in ministry became guilt, when God had me taking time out. Sometimes I have had seasons away from God's work. I always felt condemned when that happened. I thought I was a fat, spiritually lazy, gospel bludger! Then a fellow blogger a photo on her blog and it spoke to me: "God doesn't want something from us, He simply wants us." That was not the way I had been bought up to think in church... but it did make sense from the Biblical perspective God was slowly teaching me. "Spiritual peer pressure" to perform had to be put into perspective.
The Bible often refers to seasons. There is a time to rest; a time to work. I had to work with His plan at any given time. So if you don't fit other's gifts, or have a formal ministry, don't fret about it. If God has a ministry vision for your future, one will come along in His own good time. We have strength and bread for this day and that's what we always need to work on: what He is teaching us now as we focus on simply just being with Him.
Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013
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