26 February 2019
My son, if you aspire to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself for an ordeal.
Be sincere of heart, be steadfast,
and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.
Cling to him and do not leave him,
so that you may be honoured at the end of your days.
Whatever happens to you, accept it,
and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient,
since gold is tested in the fire,
and chosen men in the furnace of humiliation.
Trust him and he will uphold you,
follow a straight path and hope in him.
You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy;
do not turn aside in case you fall.
You who fear the Lord, trust him,
and you will not be baulked of your reward.
You who fear the Lord hope for good things,
for everlasting happiness and mercy.
Look at the generations of old and see:
who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?
Or who ever feared him steadfastly and was left forsaken?
Or who ever called out to him, and was ignored?
For the Lord is compassionate and merciful,
he forgives sins, and saves in days of distress.
Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
“…prepare yourself for an ordeal”
This is going to be a milestone year for me at work. I would have started my tenth year in the organization this month and yet, we continue to grow and to achieve great things. We will be celebrating the year with various milestone events and I am preparing and planning ahead with my team to secure all the necessary key stakeholders for the various milestone events (seven in all). While it is no walk in the park, I believe that we are in a good position, having already secured budgets as well as senior management approval on the overall plan for the year.
I too know that this is the year where I will be expected to step up in ministry. This is where there is a degree of uncertainty that I am not generally used to, especially since I have been put in charge of one or two areas in our ministry. I guess this is what the more seasoned leaders will say, “Leave it to God.” And, unlike the corporate world where we determine KPIs in advance and get the whip out when things are not going to plan, we deal with a lot of ad hoc issues each week and talk about pretty much the same things in our monthly Core meetings. There is certainly a need for a lot more compassion and patience when it comes to ministry work.
And I am not 100% sure I am cut out for this leadership role. Not because I do not have the perseverance nor the determination to see things through. I just wonder whether I possess the right heart for this season in ministry. I am typically a go-getter – I will get something done to the best of my ability by rallying those around me and achieve what is needed within a set timeframe. However, when it comes to dealing with ministry members who are volunteering their time and effort, I just don’t have that same ‘drive’. I have had to bite my tongue a few times and to be more understanding when things have fallen apart or not worked according to the eleventh-hour arrangements that have been made.
So I have found myself wondering if I am that round peg in a square hole. One part of me wants to bring my ‘work’ self and drive excellence. Another part of me wants to just let God mould me and shape me as a significant contributor to this life-giving ministry that I have devoted 8 years to. Let Him take the lead and guide me along, because I know that backing away is not an option. I have found myself wondering if I am in the right shape to do the work that He is calling me to perform. Ordinarily, I would do a self-analysis of my skills and competencies but in this instance, I am not so sure that is what is required.
Brothers and sisters, while we strive hard at work to achieve our KPIs, volunteering in ministry may require a whole different mindset. The ‘fitness levels’ required are different and call for exercise in a different kind of gym. And while some of us may think ourselves ‘fit for purpose’, the work God calls us to do requires a fitness that only comes through regular prayer so that our hearts are able to expand beyond our normal human capacity. Are you truly prepared for the ordeals that will come your way as you toil in His vineyard?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Father help us. We are mere mortals and lack the fitness required to perform what you ask. Give us the grace to rely on your strength and your infinite love for all of us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for blessing us always with more than we deserve.