Often life and ministry are like playing the children’s game “king of the hill.” I remember me and my brothers playing King of the Hill when we were small. Often times inside in our bedrooms because we didn’t go outside much in the wintertime. The hill would be the bed (sometimes the top bunk of our bunk beds) and it would often lead to bloody noses, bruised ribs, busted lips, or someone crying because they never won. Someone would inevitably cry because they never got to be “king of the hill”.
Sounds much like what I have fought and dealt with in ministry my entire life. There has always been this unspoken pressure to do more, work harder, sacrifice more for the church, the ministry and your perceived standing in the denomination. That has led to many broken noses, bruised ribs, busted lips, and a lot of crying saying, “what am I doing wrong?”
I have been walking through some dark places recently with several pastors under my care that this illustration explains where they are at the moment. They have broken noses, bruised ribs, busted lips, and broken hearts because they went to conference and was told, “if you institute this program in your church, it is guaranteed to grow.” They did. And it didn’t. They have succumbed to the pressure they put on themselves to be more, do more so more people would be drawn to their church.
My leader friends be free from the pressure to perform! John the Baptist faced a similar pressure one day in John 3 when his disciples realized Jesus’ ministry was exploding in growth, and John’s ministry was declining; rapidly. John makes a statement that only a mature leader can make in chapter 3:27;
“A man can receive nothing unless it’s been given to him from heaven.”
Some time ago I was walking around with a bloody & broken nose, bruised ribs, a busted lip and a crushed heart. I was doing everything I knew to do, fasting more than ever, and had given money away that needed to be used for other things. I continually cried out to God, “what am I doing wrong?”
Then He led me to this verse. “A man can receive nothing, unless it’s been given to him from heaven.” I’m telling you, the weight I was carrying lifted instantly. While I do know God wants to do more with me and for me and through me than I have ever dreamed of, it’s not up to me to make it happen. My steps are ordered by the Lord. Your steps are ordered by the Lord. And when we mediate in His Word day and night, He directs us into the place where our hearts can find peace, our will can submit to His will, and we will touch those people we are destined to touch, and accomplish the things He put us on the earth to accomplish.
Stop looking to some fringe outlandish doctrine to teach just to gain a following. Don’t be different to simply draw a crowd; be the person God created you to be, graced with the measure only you have, and that will touch the people you are destined to touch.
A man can receive nothing unless it is given to him from heaven.