What is this life all about? What is our purpose? I used to ask these questions all the time. I wanted to know God’s will for my life, and I really struggled with it, too. It was more than just knowing who I should marry or what I should do when I grew up. I knew that whatever I did, I wanted God to be at the center. I wanted my life to reflect Him, bring Him honor, and give Him praise. I wanted to seek His face and speak with Him face to face. But I did not want to be in a full time church ministry, and I didn’t want to marry! At least not at that time in my life. Yet these were the options I felt were being pressed upon me. Was it possible to really know what God’s will was for my life?
Somewhere over the years and down the line I slowly began to realize that Jesus Himself was my vocation, my calling, my passion, and that it did not matter what I chose to do in this life as much as it mattered how I chose to love in the process. In response to the question posed by a scribe back in the day, who asked Jesus what was the greatest command,
29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
That seems simple, doesn’t it? I know, simple as in straightforward, not necessarily as in easy or without complexity. Nonetheless, does a flower have to strive to be a flower, or is it that the flower just IS? Where does our strength come from? Where is our source of life? You and I both could likely produce a long list of scriptures telling us that our strength comes from the Lord, for He is our lifeline. As born again believers in Christ, and His children, we are as organically connected to Him as a hand is connected to the arm, and the arm to the body. We don’t have to strive to be a hand or part of the body, we just ARE.
Truth be known, every one of us has a ministry – those within our sphere of influence. Oh it may not be within the confines of a church, but it is ours to be sure! The question becomes, is it a ministry that flows out of intimacy, one that is core to partnership with the bridegroom? That kind of ministry is a rare and costly servanthood where one lives in agreement with the Holy Spirit. “Come to Me” has joined with “Abide in Me”. It involves an obedience in ministry born out of a love for Jesus and desire for fellowship, not struggling against His work or promptings. Life is no longer defined by how good or bad things are in the moment. Instead, life now is defined by something much bigger – that Jesus desires me and I am committed to Him – I am my beloved’s and He is mine – that’s who I am, that’s what I do.
This kind of ministry has nothing to do with size or how much man defines it as successful, because ministry that flows from intimacy isn’t about our works, it is HIS work flowing through us. We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). All that matters is the YES in our spirit as we yield to His touch, like clay in the hands of the Potter. It’s all about our willingness to lose ourselves in Him, to completely give up our plans and our dreams in lieu of His plans and His dreams. All that we are. All that we have. And to trust that our lives in this yielded, pliable state will come out far better than we could ever think or imagine.
As we abide in Him, it is His life flowing through us that gives us the ability to produce fruit. Apart from the vine we are nothing. Apart from the vine we are fuel for the fire. So guard your heart, from within it flows the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). It is in the abiding we discover that we find ourselves when we lose ourselves. All we relinquish, we gain. He fashioned us. He poured into us talent and ability. He established our boundaries where we could thrive – the time in history we would live, the family we would know, the place we would live, the hardships He knew we would endure. All became part of who we are so that we could have all we need in order to glorify Him.
The secret treasure is that in losing ourselves in Him we discover all that we ever wanted, all we ever dreamed, and more – for He knows us and knows what purpose we were created to fulfill, and He knows we will not be fully satisfied outside of it. The irony lies within the beauty of free will. Knowing the choices we would make, He goes ahead of us and establishes our path. So along our journey we are free to make both mistakes and have successes, and have the confidence He is with us the whole way. The only thing He requires in exchange for all of this, for His will to be accomplished through us, is the YES in our spirit. The agreement and alignment with His Spirit, for the more obedient we choose to be, the freer we become.
It’s not about making your ministry or life a success, its all about your heart and your relationship with Him and others in the process.
“I’m not as necessary to the greater work of God as much as the greater work of God is necessary in me.”Priscilla Shirer