As a person in ministry I admit that sometimes I feel that way. Especially when that ministry involves pastoral duties including counseling others. There are the times that the phone rings when you just get to sleep, or just sit down to dinner, want to watch television; when you’re working on a bible study or studying for a sermon. What about those times that you are trying to leave church and get something to eat, or go to the beach, or take a nap after service and somebody wants to talk to you.
Are those really inconveniences or is is that we are reluctant to give up what it is we want to do in order to do what God has called us to do?
- When God’s call comes, it will never come at a convenient time.
- God’s call rarely comes with all the details in place.
- You will never feel fully qualified to answer God’s call.
- When God’s call comes, you will almost always lack the resources to do it.
- But… God’s faithfulness always outweighs the risk of the call.
To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Required
Jesus said this at the end of His parable which teaches us that skepticism about His return produces misuse of authority and laxity of conduct. Those with authority would be punished in proportion to the level of authority. The more authority the greater the punishment.
Luke 12:35-48 NKJV “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people? ” And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (emphasis mine).
The idea of “to whom much is given, much will be required” is that we are held responsible for what we have. If we are blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, and the like, it is expected that we use these well to glorify God and benefit others.
Most of us are quick to declare our love for God, but at times we are reluctant because we think it’s inconvenient.
Sometimes our schedules are so full that there's no space to follow the Lord when we hear Him calling us to minister in a certain area. We are always busy we have a schedule to keep and to-do list to deal with. Places to go and people to see. We all need borders in our lives if we want to abide in God's will. (See Are you too busy for God?)
Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV)15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Sacrificial service is never convenient. It may require that we change our plans, give up our comforts, or even make financial sacrifices.
Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
“Take up your cross and follow Me” means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus. It’s called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender
We Don’t Care Enough
This one is really hard to admit. If we think it’s inconvenient at times because we’re too busy or selfish it may reveal a lack of devotion to the Lord and the ministry He’s called you to.
Matthew 22:36-39 (NKJV)36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
When we love Christ with all our heart we will joyfully serve Him by ministering to those in our families, workplaces, communities, and churches.
Editor’s Note: The following contains excerpts from A Prayer To Look Beyond Life’s Interruptions by Boyd Bailey from the original article “Looking Beyond Life’s Interruptions” from Encouragement for Today.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29 (NIV)
One day an unnamed Samaritan woman, going about her daily business, was interrupted by a stranger who asked her for a drink of water: “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’” (John 4:9-10, NIV).
He asked her for a favor — a drink of water — but what was Jesus' bigger idea for stopping by the well? To give a gift. He offered it to this searching, hardworking woman who needed living water for her thirsty soul. The Messiah she’d heard about was in her presence to offer her
His forgiveness and love.
So she couldn’t help but tell everyone what Jesus had done: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29)
Our lives are full of interruptions.
Traffic, a sick child, a financial surprise, a long line, a needy neighbor, a complaining customer, a co-worker in crisis, unfaithfulness, divorce, illness and death. These all look, sound and feel like interruptions. However, with eyes of faith we have the ability to look beyond life’s interruptions and instead see illustrations of God’s love.
Interruptions can be appointments for compassion.
Life may feel unfair, but in your everyday routine recognize the Lord in the little things and love like Jesus. Interruptions represent people to love and are opportunities for you to be loved!
Loving people is the business of Jesus’ followers. It may be a person in your immediate presence, or it could be an individual in your peripheral vision, such as a restaurant server who needs to be included in your mealtime prayer.
A doctor or nurse who cares for you, a loved one who needs to be encouraged, or a critic who doesn’t have the full story — they too need the gifts of your patience and grace. Look for illustrations of God’s hand at work, home, vacation and especially during the holidays. Let interruptions slow you down, so you can better focus on receiving and giving God's love.
Has your life been interrupted?
How can you turn this into an opportunity to love and be loved?
Lean into God and learn of His love for the person who may have interrupted your life, then go share your story. Today, settle into the lap of your Lord, rest secure in His comfort and compassion. He beautifully illustrates His story of love for you, written with grace by His Son and your Savior, Jesus.
Heavenly Father, Open My Eyes Of Faith To See Your Illustrations Of Love In The Interruptions Of My Life Today. Lord, Help Me See These Moments As Opportunities To Love And To Accept Your Love And The Love Of Others. Help Me Share The Good News Of Your Great Love With Everyone I Know. Slow Me Down, So That I Can Receiving And Give To Others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The next time ministry becomes inconvenient remember this;
Hebrews 6:10-12 (NKJV)10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Any service we offer in Jesus' name will not be in vain. You'll experience the joy of giving and the assurance that the Lord won't forget your sacrifice.