Ministry Isn't All Up to You

Have you ever found yourself rushing through a drive-thru to pick up dinner, then hurrying off to lead a small group, then back home to bake cookies for the homebound, all while fielding calls for the next women's ministry event? If this describes you, and it's leaving you exhausted, then it's time you discovered an amazing secret: You are not the only person God has called to serve! God has called others to serve and receive joy from serving.

For a biblical example, look at Jonathan and David. Jonathan had the birthright, the position, the training, and all the credentials to be the next king. But God had someone else lined up-David, a poor shepherd.

Jonathan gave up a dream job. Could I do the same? Could I step out of the way and let someone else fill the position I have been holding? Why do I try to do it all? Is it because I do not trust others to do things as well as I? Or is the reality that I do not trust God's plan?

Our motives for trying to do everything are not always pure. Try asking yourself these questions to discern if you're trying to "do it all":

  • What am I doing right now that I should not be doing? Have I lost my passion for this ministry?
  • What new ministry is God calling me to serve in?
  • Am I burned out because I have refused to give up a ministry to another?
  • Is someone else supposed to be serving where I am?
  • Where am I serving out of obligation instead of obedience?
  • Do I feel like a martyr as I serve? If so, what is making me feel that way?
  • Am I overwhelmed by the demands of ministry?

Remember, God does not call us to exhaustion but to joyful service. Saying no to a ministry we love is painful, but it allows others, whom God has called, to participate in His plan. How do we develop healthy boundaries and learn to say no? We:

  • Pray for discernment.
  • Accept God's faithfulness.
  • Refuse to settle for "good" in place of God's best.
  • Let our "no" mean "no."
  • Understand that God's "no" is really a segue to the new "yes." God is not saying you have done a poor job, but that you have learned, grown, and become equipped for a new challenge. He is not discarding you, He's just rearranging you to a new place of service.

And how should we react when it's time for us to leave one area of service and another person comes to take our place? We can look at Jonathan and David again as an example. Jonathan didn't hang around and tell David what to do. He allowed David to seek the kingship his way. Jonathan supported David, even when David made mistakes. Jonathan was devoted to David and helped him in any way he could. Jonathan respected God's plan and joined in it.

When it's time for you to move to another area of service, support those who come behind you. Follow Jonathan's example. Support her. Pray for her. Give her room to fail. Most importantly, look for the new place of service God has been preparing for you. You might just be the person someone else has been praying for!

Deb Douglas is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, wife, mother, and doctoral student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

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