Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tips for Avoiding "Ministry Madness"

By Rachel Olsen

Many a woman, myself included, has drawn comfort from the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus and his entourage stopped at their home for a respite from their travels. Mary was thrilled with the opportunity to learn from Jesus and plopped herself down at his feet to listen to his every word. Martha too was thrilled about the company she was keeping that afternoon, and she busied herself in the kitchen trying to make all the food and accommodations "just so." Growing resentful that her sister was not jumping on board the hospitality committee, Martha insisted that Jesus instruct Mary to help her in the kitchen. Jesus indicated that he would not instruct Mary to leave his side to help. He made it clear that "doing what needs to be done," is not always doing what needs to be done. Before we venture off into ministry and service, we need to ensure we are keeping our priorities properly aligned and that we are keeping in touch with the heart of the Father. Here are four tips to help:

1. Determine your spiritual gifts. You need to know what types of things God has gifted and called you to do. Ask the Lord to reveal these to you. Ask other Christians what talents they see in you. Take a spiritual gifts questionnaire - you can find some in your local Christian bookstore.

2. Pray before saying "yes." Whether you are asked over the telephone, over email, at your front door, over a cup of coffee, by your best friend, by your role model or by your pastor, always pray before you reply. If you need some time to pray and consider it, simply smile and say, "I will pray about that and let you know my answer at such and such time."

3. Ask your husband. If you are married, run any ministry opportunities (or other large time commitments) by your husband first. You will need his blessing and support to minister well. Sometimes my husband can tell better than I when I am getting over-extended. We also need to protect that quality time we spend connecting with him each day. If you are not married, this paragraph still applies to you and your heavenly husband, Jesus.

4. If you find yourself over-extended, feeling outside of God' will for your life, say so! Do not be afraid to pull back from things you are already doing in order to spend more time with God and your family. We have limited time and resources ladies, let's make sure we are investing them in the best possible way.

As a personal example, I was once leading a women's ministry I had been involved with for years, but I no longer sensed the Lord's anointing to do so. Like never before I found my service to this ministry disrupting to my family life. After much prayer, I withdrew as the group's leader. It was very hard to stand before the ladies and say: "I'm serving but it's not flowing well, and I'm growing resentful of my work here. I sense the need to step down and spend more time with my family and at the Lord's feet."

I did so and experienced immediate personal revival. It wasn't long before God lead me to another, greater ministry opportunity I would otherwise have missed.Jesus said between housework and heart-work, Mary had chosen the better thing. Given the choice between working for the Lord and working with Him, I'd rather work with Him any day. Mary had made the right choice and so can we. Friends, let us not grow weary in well doing (Gal 6:9) by trying to do too much.


Sisterlisa said...

Oh my soul!!! You have no idea how the timing of me reading this is just SO perfect. Please come read my entry from last night:

I did exactly that. I stepped down from a ministry a few months back and now we have a new ministry opening up. Golly, this was prefect timing. You really encouraged me that I made the right decisions.