My Ugandan daughter’s birth mom named her Power. We loved it so much we kept it in her legal American name because well, it is her name and gosh, it suits her so well.
My little girl is feisty. Like energy and passion and emotion to the nth degree. And while it makes me a tired mama, I’m just eating up all that personality.
I get her. My aunt told my mother when I was five years old that I was either going to be a stripper or a cross-cultural worker, she just wasn’t sure which one. Funny, hey? By the grace of our Good Father, I’m writing to you on this site. Let’s just leave it there.
POWER. It’s a great word to dwell on this week because I believe it’s a concept we really struggle with on the field.
Growing up, I was taught that if I had all my Bible verses in the right order and I prodded people enough, the Gospel would make sense to them.
I listened to cross-cultural worker reports and read cross-cultural worker newsletters, which essentially talked about all the things the people were doing to win souls.
Work, work, work. Convert, convert, convert.
Strive, strive, strive. Win, win, win.
Exhaust yourself = model cross-cultural worker behavior.
The problem with this mindset is that the power to change people’s hearts is placed on OUR shoulders. The authority to move in others is transferred away from God and into our hands, where it was never meant to be.
I like how Father Gregory Boyle talks about burnout.
He says that ministry is not about saving the world or saving people. That mindset leads to burnout.
“If the intent is to save people, or even to help people, then it works that way. You’re going to be depleted,” Boyle said.
“For me, it’s never about depletion. It used to be, when I used to think my job was saving lives. But now I think saving lives is for the Coast Guard. Our choice always is the same: save the world or savor it. And I vote for savoring it. And, just because everything is about something else, if you savor the world, somehow—go figure—it’s getting saved.”
Now, I’m not saying that we can just brush by people and rub the Gospel off onto them. I’m not saying that we quit teaching and preaching Good News. I’m not saying that there isn’t some real action involved in discipling new believers.
It’s HIM that changes hearts. It’s HIM that converts the blind to seeing. It’s HIM that brings redemption.
GOD HOLDS THE POWER. We are merely his hands and feet, his workmanship.
What I hope you hear from this message is that you have no authority or control to make people turn to a Living God. None.
So we can take the pressure off ourselves to perform just right, and allow the Good Shepherd to use his almighty power to bring people into His fold.
Our job is to show up and be faithful. His job is to bring those persons of peace to the point of acceptance, and He’ll do that through His power.
How have you struggled to place the appropriate responsibility of power on God, rather than yourself?
How can you relinquish some unnecessary weight of ministry that might be pushing you towards burnout?
In what ways does Scripture talk about the almighty sovereignty and power of God? How does that reminder change the way you might do ministry on the field?