The Desire of God's Will and Nothing Else in Our Occupation
*I jotted this post down last week as I ate breakfast. If you've found this, may it encourage you in your journey. Let me know your thoughts about occupation and calling in the comments...what's your journey and understanding been as you journey in this life?
"Every child of God is not called by the Lord to establish schools and orphan houses and to trust in the Lord for means for them. Yet, there is no reason why you may not experience, far more abundantly than we do now, His willingness to answer the prayers of His children." - George Müller
I'm Serving God, Right?
Some years ago, before we had any children - a friend of mine invited me (David) to a recording studio in town, he'd told me to bring a song that I'd written. I only had a couple days to prepare, and the pressure of having a song - of which if only written one or two at the time - pressed me into a pretty reflective place.
The chorus' lyrics:
"It's the way you put things together
That makes them what they are;
Who am I to question you?
It's the way you put me together
That makes me what I am
Who am I to question you?"
See, up to that point, I had a pretty set idea of what my life was going to look like: work hard, get promoted, make a lot of money and give to the work of orphan care, the missions work and social justice advocates for the rest of my days - to see God’s good news go forth through others working full-time in ministry.
Something Was Wrong
And yet, my friends were asking me questions about what "I really wanted to do?" I even sat down to a job interview where the interviewers responded with: ’do some soul-searching; what is it you really want to do?’ I had urges and passion for the mercy works that was not satisfied simply by supporting the work. I couldn't stop thinking about it, and my good friends knew it and asked me to look deeper into how I was made.
My idea of living for God's purposes was messed up. I thought that I would work hard and bring my money to God, and that would not only satisfy my desires but would satisfy His. Problem is, I discovered in this ‘soul-searching’ that I in myself cannot please God. Even our hero Paul called his works as rubbish and rags compared to the knowledge of Christ.
I wasn't living out of faith and knowledge of Jesus' selflessness and sacrifice. I was living out of my own idea of what I was supposed to be, what I could bring to God as ‘good works’ and was put faith in my own efforts. God opened my eyes to see that I was living in religious bondage.
So, I put my faith in God and then I became a full time minister and now I'm saved. Except, no, that's not how it went at all. I had to go through some painful lessons before I really was humbled before God and let go of the works-salvation idea I had, especially after making the step into full-time ministry.
The Struggle of Works in Full-Time Ministry
In some ways, it's harder to not try appease God in full-time ministry. God and man; trying to make myself look good in front of others, to do the most stuff from a wrong place in my heart that will get me the most badges and brownie points in life before I pass. But, when I let go of my distorted view of God and what he wanted in my life, AGAIN confessed that I was the creation and he was supreme creator, I found that I had so much more joy in the work I did do.
From the quote from George Müeller above, not everyone is called to start a children's home or adopt so many children as he did.
Life consequences of the changes we made: we have now adopted 4 children, fostering 2 more, drive a mini bus and sleep sometimes. We still give to missions and such, we meet with couples and young men that need discipleship and encouragement in their spiritual journey, interested foster families and bring worship music and prayer to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it. Some say this is too a busy life, but I believe this is what we’ve been called to do. And I know at least 6 little people that are glad we were called to this path and responded with “yes!”
Still, full-time occupational ministry was not the answer to my frustrations. Submission to God and His will was our answer. “Not my will but Yours be done,” shall be our continual prayer when we are walking in a healthy mindset. This is the challenge to us day by day.
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