If you are like me, you have opportunities daily to go in about 38 different directions in ministry. So many needs, yet we must narrow down the call and focus on what God wants us to do today. How do we do that? With the masses of those that need our love and lessons, how do we hone in on the ones Jesus called us to?
When I read this, I’m overwhelmed with who to seek and who to feed:
Matthew 18:12-14 NIV
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Who is the lost sheep I am called to go looking for? What about the ninety-nine: who will care for them?
Once again, God uses a distracted moment in my day to teach me something profound.
I’ve recently taken up Zumba. It’s a dance fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. The program combines Latin and international music with dance in an effort to make exercise fun. I love it, but I’ve always loved dancing.
When I started the classes, I was lost. Not like the lost sheep. I’m sure the sheep was darling. I was anything but darling. I looked like I was being stung by bees. As time goes by, however, I’m learning the steps and starting to enjoy it.
The other day I was trying to learn a new step but instead I kept getting in my own way. I was focused on the leader’s feet, counting steps and studying her moves, but she’d swing right and I’d swing left. I could not figure out the move. Finally, I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “just feel the music.”
Suddenly I had it.
No more forcing the moves. They came naturally when I focused on the rhythm of the music.
I knew when that happened that I had learned more than a dance move. The phrase “just feel the music” has been rolling around in my heart ever since. I think it holds a powerful lesson for me and hopefully you too.
I am reminded of the words of Jesus in the Message Bible:
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. What a powerful message.
How do we decide who to chase and who to lead? It all comes back to grace.
1. Who has God given you the grace, desire and passion to lead?
Who is on your heart? Who do you weep over?
And, we need to realize that this passion may change as we walk through different seasons in life. I’ve made the mistake of feeling that I had “one call” and tried to figure it out. But when I look back at my life I see that God gave me grace for each season.
When I was single I spent my weekends in the inner city. I loved it! Bring on the homeless and prostitutes. They were who I wept over.
Then I had children and I spent years in the nursery and kids church. This was especially wonderful as I shared so much time with my husband in ministry and watched God do a mighty work in him.
When the kids grew, I led women’s ministry and joined the worship team.
Afterward, I served as pastor’s wife (basically did EVERYTHING) at a couple churches as my husband led.
And now I’m in a place I never thought I’d be. Serving women outside the church walls in ways I never imagined. Traveling and speaking through Praise and Coffee Nights and publishing an online magazine that is read by thousands. I could just cry when I think of how precious the Lord has been throughout my life and ministry. I stand in awe of Him. That He would take someone like me and touch a life still makes my heart explode.
The point I want to make is that in every different season, I had the grace, desire and passion to lead right where God had me. Don’t feel locked in to a certain ministry. Recognize the “unforced rhythms of grace” and follow the leading of the Lord for your particular season.
2. Second, who will benefit most from the grace that God offers through you?
God loves and cares for every single person on this planet but we can’t reach all of them and I’m sure not one of us was called to reach ALL.
Follow your heart, discuss it with your spouse and lay it before God. He will show you.
And be ready to leave the ninety-nine to go find that one. You may find that is what makes your heart as happy as the shepherd in Matthew 18.