By: Sabrina Peters
Did you know it’s possible to spend your life serving God and end up not really knowing Him? It’s possible to build a big Church, big youth ministry or big online platform and completely forget who it’s all really for.
It’s possible to walk out your journey of faith and actually leave Jesus behind (Seriously Jesus’ own parents did. Check out Luke 2:43). And at times I have too. At times I have thrown myself so passionately into serving God, that I have neglected pursuing Him. I found myself more focused on writing, preaching and teaching about Him, than being with Him. Sitting, talking, listening and communing with Him.
I AM A MARTHA BY DEFAULT, I AM CONTINUALLY DECIDING TO BE A MARY BY CHOICE.
Thankfully He doesn’t let me wander too far without pulling me back to true north.
JESUS FIRST. MINISTRY SECOND.
You could be a Senior Pastor and be building your own kingdom or a door greeter and serving for status not from affection. It’s not about the position or size, it’s about the heart and attitude. So whether you are a bible college student, church volunteer, pastoral staff, writer, blogger, preacher or simply a follower of Jesus this is a question we all need to ask ourselves, regularly.
Ministry is stewardship, not ownership.
God gives you people to steward, not own. God gifts you with talent for His glory, not to exploit for personal gain. God generously pours out His favour on us because He’s a good Father, not because we’re great children.
At this point in my life, blogging has been a huge part of my ministry expression. I believe the word of God is powerful, whatever medium it is communicated through. I believe we should saturate every space we inhabit and maximize media to communicate God’s truth and His light, but I’ve noticed it can often become about building a mini kingdom instead of His kingdom. Again, this is not a message for everyone else, this is a lesson I have learnt personally.
It can quickly become about the size of our Churches, youth groups and ministries. It can become about the exposure, the likes, the shares, the reach. We can start out with pure motives to reveal Jesus to a generation and fall into the trap of using it to feed our egos. We can preach about identity but struggle with insecurity and low self-esteem. We can write posts about not comparing, then refresh our feeds every 10 minutes to see who’s reading. We can repost a pic saying “choose joy” but be miserable from Monday to Saturday. We can continually talk about grace, but show it very little.
I don’t want my life to just look good on Instagram. I want my life to be overflowing with God’s goodness and power, like, you know, for real. I don’t want to just love and serve people on a Sunday and never take a moment to reach out to the person next to me during the week. I don’t ever want to turn Church or ministry into a business and care more about profit and growth than loving God and loving people.
The last few months I have deliberately pulled back on blogging and speaking, not because my passion has waned but because my desire for Jesus has taken centre stage. My priorities have shifted. I want to be a woman that seeks Him first, and serves Him second. (Side note: don’t stop serving Jesus! Just receive before you give out). I want to ensure my motives are pure, my heart is whole and my identity is truly secure. So I have made space for that change. Instead of picking up my phone first thing in the morning to post a quote or scripture about Him, I talk to Him. I put some worship music on and invite Him in the room. It has been incredibly refreshing, life-changing actually.
I want my roots to go down deep and not get caught up in the fruit.
So the question remains for you, dear friend.
WHOSE KINGDOM ARE YOU BUILDING?
Are you serving God or is He serving you?
Are you trying to grow a big Church or big ministry to take ground for the kingdom or to feel valuable and significant in this thing we call life (Of course no one will ever admit it, but it happens a lot in Church life).
Are you leading, preaching, singing, posting for validation or to truly bless those around you?
This isn’t a question just for pastors and leaders. It’s a question for every Christian. We are all called to build the kingdom.
Your “kingdom” may not be a ministry. Your kingdom is what consumes you, what takes your time, energy and effort.
Your kingdom could be your business or career. So many people make their career their number one priority. They pour endless hours into a degree, climbing the corporate ladder, hoarding the profits and defining their identity. Again, God wants us to work hard, be diligent and get ahead so we can live from a place of strength. But He wants us to be intricately interconnected to Him, working from a place of rest, security and grace. Not striving and stressing to be the best.
Your kingdom could be your body, your looks, your health. Do you spend endless hours at the gym but you don’t have time to read your bible? Do you focus so much on your outer appearance but neglect your inward disposition.
Girl, your brows could be on fleek, but if your soul is on weak and your spirit is asleep, you’re settling for shallow living when God wants to take you out into the deep.
Maybe it’s your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. Maybe your sense of self-worth or security is wrapped up in them? Maybe your joy and purpose even comes from your kids. Family is an incredible blessing but they are our stewardship for a season, God is our reward for eternity.
Your kingdom could even be your calling. Did you know you can put your “passion and purpose” on a pedestal and leave Jesus on the ground.
None of these things are bad in themselves (they are actually all amazing, positive, life enhancing things). But nothing should take the place of God in our lives. I want to be someone that truly seeks Him first and has everything else added, not seeks everything else and turns around to says, “Jesus, hey where you at?”
Again for me, blogging and writing has been a huge part of my “ministry” the last couple of years and I hope it always will be. This isn’t me declaring, “I quit”. I am simply realigning myself to keep Him first. All the time (and the truth is, if He said, “let it go”, I’d let it go). It’s no accident the things we are passionate about and gifted and graced in. It’s just meant to be used for Him, not the other way around.
I am purposing to continually serve, love and lead out of a place of overflow and not drought. I have determined to drink from the well before pouring out. The truth is, Church, a ministry, a blog or a social media platform are all great tools to reach, encourage, and shepherd people, but they are not the kingdom in themselves. They are simply the vehicles to bring heaven to earth. Gods kingdom is the final destination. We are all called to bring the reality of God to our worlds everyday (That’s actually the mandate of the amazing Church I get to call home, Kingdomcity).
Empathy without action is pointless.
Inspiration without application is wasted.
Challenge without change is futile.
When I was young I had this quote stuck on my wall.
MAY THE PRAISES OF MAN FALL ON DEAF EARS, I LIVE TO DELIGHT THE HEART OF MY KING.
Article supplied with thanks to Sabrina Peters.
About the Author: Sabrina is a new generation speaker and author and former youth pastor of 9 years. Her passion is Jesus, relationships & sexuality.