Life is about expectations. Every course of action, every decision awakens or is birthed by specific expectations. The Christian life is no different. Your expectations determine your outcome, so we must be careful to have the right expectations and when we do, the right attitude to make them reality. Let me explain.
Many years ago I wrote an article decrying the consumer mentality in the church. As I’ve gained experience in ministry, I have found that their is a natural longing of the heart that must be guided and combined with a supernatural longing for God. And that is the job of the minister. The problem of every man is connected to his relationship with God. God is the supreme value and we are as happy as we are in harmony with Him. Yet people encounter problems daily that tend to overwhelm and submerge them, and they come crying for answers. So there is the constant tension between meeting their needs and directing their focus outward, to God, helping them to value and honour God even in the midst of their questions.
As a minister of the Gospel, I must live with the consciousness that my first responsibility is to God, not to the people. I am mandated first and foremost to please God by revealing Him to the people, connecting them to Him and teaching them who He is. Then I am to help them to develop their relationship with Him, to love and serve Him. Secondly, I am there to help them through the Word and power of God meet pressing needs in their lives.
Interestingly, as I said in the previous article, I have found non committed christians often would not place unreasonable demands on God. As far as they are concerned, He is about the very busy task of running the universe and has left them a free hand to run their own lives. Many believers on the other hand almost act as though God’s job description was themselves and their entire interaction with Him centres around the benefits He is procuring to their existence.
Yet the game plan Jesus gave us is the opposite. He said to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things shall be added to us. Clearly He has not forgotten our challenges and is not discounting our valid human needs. Rather, He is giving us the key to pleasing Him and living well at the same time. Seeking Him is not an act of abnegation, it is a pursuit of absolute life and beauty. It is highly rewarding.
In essence, what Jesus has done in one master stroke, is to combine the interests of God and the welfare of man. Although they must learn to love God for His face and not in His hands, yet in seeing His face, they receive from His hands. And that relieves the tension between speaking to their needs and stirring their hearts for God.
Nowhere is this more evident than in soulwinning, an activity many believers abhor. Yet we know that he who wins souls is wise. There is a need for a true passion for souls and a cry to see people connected to God. And yet I have also seen that when people understand the principle of kingdom first, they step out and work for God. And their service triggers the outflow from God to them.
So a preacher must not only teach that we do not seek ‘things’ exclusively, but that we can only find them in doing the will of the Father. Correction, we do not find them, they find us. Shalom.
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