As many of you know, since we obtained our non-profit status in July of last year, Pass the Word has been blessed incredibly. During this growth, I have tried my hardest to remember that it is God's ministry, to glorify His name, and any successes we may have are solely His success. But even still, pride is a stealthy enemy. I did not recognize it until the growth began to slow down recently. As the work began to slow down, my pride dictated that it must be because I was not working hard enough. So I searched for something else I could do, if at least just to keep myself busy. But it seemed as though the more I tried to accomplish something, the less results there were. I was raised that if you wanted to get something done, you start working, if you wanted more done, you worked harder. It makes a lot sense. After all, isn't that the equation that America the Beautiful was built on? It's an idea that is a basic element of our culture. To succeed in today's business world, you must push yourself harder than your competitors, work longer hours, and use the best tools. The bottom line is efficiency. This sort of work ethic has produced a country that we take a lot of pride in.
However, there lies the problem. We take pride in the work of our hands. And as the results from this ministry were slowing down, I began to feel responsible for the lack of growth. Even though it is not really my responsibility, God has taken that burden. Not only that, but as much as I hate to admit it, I began to worry what other people might think of me. I knew that with prayer, God's plans will be done, but I didn't want to look like I wasn't doing anything to help Him along. When someone would ask me "What did you do today?" It bruised my pride to say that all I had accomplished was to sit and pray. So I took time away from prayer so that I could look busy. What I didn't realize was that God is much more efficient that I could ever be. And when I am spending time with Him, praying for His ministry, then I am turning the work back over to Him. I had also forgotten that this entire ministry was to represent God, not me. Whether this ministry continues or not, whether it grows or not, is to represent God to the world. It is not to show the world what I can do for God.
I have to be careful here. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that to be effective, all you have to do is pray. James put it clearly when he said "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do" (James 2:18b). God calls us to action, but we are to follow His orders. Joshua was about to enter Canaan to conquer it when God reminded him that he was to follow God's plan, not his own. A large part of that plan is in God's timing. Often we are told to wait on what we are certain is God's call on our lives, other times we are called to action before we feel we are ready.
If you are in a time of waiting, worship God. Use that time to draw close to God, so that when you are called to action, you know Him whom you are following, and you are able to hear His voice. Remember not to despise the day of "small things" (Zech. 4:10), and not grow lazy. Remember that God gave not only the Sabbath-day of rest to the Israelites, but set aside weeks, months, and even years during which they were to rest, and trust God to provide. God took that command very seriously, even so far as to cite their failure to do so as a reason for punishing the Jews (2 Chr. 36:18). Now we are not required to observe certain hours, or days. But when we are not trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ in our lives, and our pride continues to carry the burdens that God has taken from us, is that very different than violating the Sabbath-day commandment?
Sowing the Seed,
J. Travis Hardey
Pass the Word