I remember asking the Lord at a very early age to use me.
I wanted to be used by God to preach the gospel, cast out demons, heal the sick….
I hope I get to tell you how I eventually came into doing the work of ministry but for now all I can tell you is the willing little girl that only had one constant prayer, CHANGED.. yup… one day I woke up and I did not want to be used by God anymore, I just wanted to be saved and to be a good Christian. But that’s a blog for another.
Tonight, I was pondering on the sacrifices I have made along the way and the one that is being required at the moment and I can’t help thinking I really did not know what I was asking for when I did. My ambitious request reminded me of the request the mother of James and John made as stated in Mathew 20:20-21. She respectfully asked Jesus “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honour next to yo, one on your right and one on your left.”
“But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.”
You see it’s so easy to want the power and position without the responsibility, sacrifice and obedience that goes with it. Power is for performance, position is responsibility.
Over the years, I have had various opportunities to serve the Lord and each one required a level of sacrifice. But I have to be honest, I have also faced demands that though I knew was necessary to step into the next level, felt like I was loosing more of myself and was not ready to.
We see this in the life of Paul in Philippians 3:5-14. It is so easy to read these verses to flippantly because we know Apostle Paul achieved great results, we know the rewards of his sacrifice. Of course it was worth it but I mean can you imagine giving up everything you worked for and those you inherited. Surely he did not just do that off a whim… there must have been something more to enable him to make such a sacrifice.
I remember wanting so much to be called… And I did not necessarily wait to be called, I began sharing my faith because I loved God and wanted everyone to know God. Listen everyone is called to ministry… the saints are called to do the work of ministry. But not everyone is called to the office. (Ephesians 4). Regardless of whether you are doing the work of ministry as a saint or as a saint called into one of the five fold offices, sacrifice is part of our life.
So yes I have been in ministry for a while, and while in ministry… I received the call to the office. You see, I kind of thought what I was doing was enough, until I received the call. The call to the office required more sacrifice. It required that I sacrificed my safety net, it required a change of direction, plans, reputation, social life, going on a route that my family may not approve of. And it was difficult. I thought of ways to soften the blow, to still serve God and still have my job so I can have money to do all I wanted to do. I mean, as pointed out by some of my aunties, there are people at work who still do great ministry. I struggled, reasoned with myself, thought of my student loans, rent, ability to do what I wanted without being a burden to the church.
But then I would read scriptures like John 6:27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval”
God would speak to me about the decadence on the earth, I would read the news and my heart would be broken because I knew I was being like Jonah. Then I would reason perhaps that I ought to wait till I get married because then I would have someone there with me. I won’t be going alone. I reasoned that what I was doing already ministry wise was sufficient for now but I was restless.
You see we hear and watch those doing great exploits in the kingdom, we see the glory but don’t pay attention to the sacrifice made. We read the bible about the disciples and how they left everything to follow God and we read it so casually. I realise now that I did not know what I was asking for when I asked for it.
Many want power but don’t want to do what the power was given for. It is given for us to expand the kingdom. I now know why God told Joshua that he had to be strong and of good courage.
Even Jesus said whoever will follow Him must “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow”. He says the way to find your life is to lose your life. (Mathew 16:24-25).
This isn’t theory, there is a price to pay to share in the glory, there is a level of glory you won’t obtain if you don’t lose your life. There are souls that can only be saved by you dying to self.
But how… it’s all well and good to know that this comes to with sacrifice but how do I follow through. It’s one thing to hear the call, answer the call and do what was instructed.
Even Jesus requested that the cup be passed by Him! How much more us! You see there are somethings required that you can freely give but there are things that will be required of you that may cause you to pause and think. The same Jesus who rebuked satan who through Peter wanted to discourage Him from going to the cross, is the same Jesus that prayed for the cup to pass.
So how do we make these sacrifices.. the one that touches our core, that you would rather not offer but know is what is required.
- Pray- In Mathew 26:36-45, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39- 46, it records Jesus praying in the garden. In Mathew 26:38- Jesus says “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful”, In Mark 14:33, He is described to be “troubled and deeply distressed”, He himself says “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful even unto death.”. While praying, Jesus made His request known to God. He asked that the cup be passed but surrendered His will to the will of the Lord. We need to understand that we are able to speak to God about our fears and our concerns. God already knows our hearts. There is no point deceiving ourselves. It’s in surrendering our weaknesses to God in prayer that we can receive strength to do what He requires of us. You see in the account in Luke 22:43, an angel strengthened Him. In prayer we can exchange our weakness for strength. Our fear for faith.
- The Help of the Holy Spirit– one of my favourite verse is Hebrews 9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” This verse tells me that the Holy Spirit is the One who can help me make such a sacrifice. Even Jesus did not offer Himself without the help of the Holy Spirit. So I ask the Holy Spirit to help me make the sacrifices needed to step into what God has called me to do. Philippians 2:13 tells me “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose.” This tells me that not only does God give you the willingness but also the ability to do what He requires you to do. God will not require from you what He will not enable you to do.
- Get a mentor- the disiciples had Jesus, Joshua had Moses, Elisha had Elijah, Samuel had Eli, Timothy had Paul and I have my spiritual father Bishop David Onimisi and other mentors that I can speak to and get advise from.
So yes, the cup is bitter, but there is grace to drink it and come into glory. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. It is still a yoke, it is still a burden but there is grace.
Hebrews 12:28 “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:”
There is grace available to serve God!
I pray you and I receives the grace needed to serve God. Not from convenience but through sacrifice.
There is so much to write about this, perhaps there will be a part two, lol. But to keep this as a blog and not a book I better end here. However, I will love to hear from you, so please comment on whether you identify or have a difference in opinion or any advise on you would give someone going through the struggle.
Thank you for reading and oh of course my ansswer to God is YES! But also help me Lord!