Ministry as growth
“Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:14-16, ESV).
Along with 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, I’ve been reading Leadership As An Identity by Crawford Loritts. It is excellent! One of the things he wrote in the book is:
God is leveraging the very assignment He has given us to accelerate the leader’s sanctification… God is using what He has given you to do to not only accomplish His assignments but to make you what He wants you to become… It’s important that you do not separate God’s assignments and God’s character-building program.
God does not just use us to achieve his objectives. He forms us into the people he wants us to be, and that formation happens in part through the very assignments he gives us. So, his calling not only fulfills his will but also shapes his leaders. As someone who often finds my self-worth in what I have to offer or what I can accomplish, it’s a breath of fresh air to be reminded that God isn’t just interested in me as a tool but as his son!
When our second son, Jack, became old enough to join the cross-country team, we encouraged him to run. We knew if he applied his willpower, he could run the course. We also knew that his confidence would grow with every race he completed. And his character would develop every time he chose to keep running when his body wanted to quit.
The Apostle Paul and Crawford Loritts both say the same thing. God has given you an assignment, a gift, a calling. Don’t neglect it! And don’t think that it’s just about the work he wants you to do. Practice your gift, pursue your calling, and track your spiritual growth. As God shapes you through the ministry he’s given you, he’ll save both you and the people he’s called you to serve!
God is pretty cool.