Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This is a Little Much

This is one of my more transparent journal entries. I wrote it at 2am on Sunday night, and I almost didn't post it. But I hope that someone can relate to my struggles and screw ups and see that the grace of God is a powerful thing. Some people might not agree with this, but nobody agrees with everybody. Remember these are my thoughts, they don't have to be yours. anyways here goes...

In Luke 16:10 Jesus says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Christian “entrepreneurs” use this a lot – “If you are faithful with a little, God will make you faithful with a lot.” And I am just now realizing there is a small, but major difference from the verse to the saying. And the difference is the words “God will.”

It is not sinful to desire growth and increase. God speaks many times to Israel about increase. It is not sin to want to become better at your craft and more skilled each new day. Ambition is not evil, and many possess what I believe is a spiritual gift to make things grow. If a small group grows because more people are being discipled by disciples, great! If a ministry grows because people have dedicated themselves to prayer, faith, and good works, then praise God! There is healthy growth that I believe God is all about.

The danger I am coming to see, at least in my own life, is that growth has become expected. It should be deserved like hourly wages for labor. You work hard, then you deserve a better life. You give, then you should be given to. It’s only fair. What goes around comes around and you reap what you sow. If you’ve been faithful with the little, then the clock is ticking down for when God makes you faithful with a lot.

Jonathan, you’ve been faithful to serve God in the prison by preaching and leading the music and doing other gigs for free, you deserve your reward of an increased career in ministry and entertainment. The crowds will only get bigger and your songs and sermons will only get better. Because God said, “If you’re faithful with the little, I will make you faithful with much.”

Wait. No. That’s not what he said. What he said was, “Whoever can be trusted with very little CAN also be trusted with much.”

And that is true. It has to be, I mean it’s in the Bible. And I think many, many times that if you are faithful with little that God will make you faithful with much. Sure. But our expectations and our sense of what is owed to us is what is killing us.

I find myself active in ministry and in pursuit of my dreams to do full time and funded what I love doing even now for free. But this American “I deserve” mentality has crept its way into my head and drilled a pipeline that has been feeding into my heart. I go and do what I do because I think it is going to lead to something bigger. All I am doing is paying my dues, getting my street cred, and building bridges that will inevitably take me to my dream life. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder for the right connection that is going to finally see me, love me, and take me to the top. And while, yes, I am doing good works that really do come from good motives, they are not solely fed by Godly desires. And this is the path that leads you out of the anointing of the Lord.

Want to see an effective man go to work and become ineffective? Get him out of the anointing of the Lord. Want to see someone full of potential go chase their tail? Get them out of the anointing of the Lord. That God-given, supernatural ability to be used. Just ask King Saul what it’s like when you lose the Lord’s anointing.

What if God’s whole plan all along was for you and I to serve where he places us, and to be content with what he has called us to do. God may have given you big dreams and desires to see a great accomplishment for the Kingdom that is off the scales, and he does give us dreams and visions like that. But I think that true faithfulness is about being committed and passionate for the work God has given you to do where you are. Only God can open doors anyhow. You can run yourself to death but if God doesn’t want to open a new door, he’s not going to do it. Oh sure you can go kick some doors open yourself, but don’t be surprised when it turns out to be one that leads to emptiness. And isn’t it so much better to knock on doors that God is waiting on the other side of? All this sounds like something Jesus talked about once… (Matthew 7:7)

God’s goal isn’t to screw with your head and heart. He’s not out to make you doubt your calling or your faith in him. But we must daily check our motives for our work in the Kingdom. God will reward us, that is a promise, but it might not be what we think that the reward should be.

There’s a line of a Lifehouse song that has been banging around in my head lately and I feel it lines up well with this—“I didn’t get what I want I got what I need…”

If you’re being faithful with the little, you can probably be faithful with much. But I wonder if there are some things that we are calling little that God is calling much. Perhaps some of the greatest accomplishments for the Kingdom of God show the least amount of results for the kingdom of this earth.

—Father, give us eyes to see things as you see them, and willing hearts to serve as you’ve called us to.—