I can relate to always wanting to do more for the Kingdom but not having the resources to do it all. I am experiencing more of that right now than ever before in my whole life. Our ministry brought in less than $200,000.00 last year; the lowest in several years.
And yet, we trained hundreds of leaders around the world who lead over a million people. We gave away thousands of DVDs, CDs, books and study guides that are now being used daily in several countries. That’s a lot of “bang for the buck”!
But we could have done more, trained more, reached more…if we just had more money. And God could have provided more money if He wanted to.
There can be a great frustration in knowing that we all could do more if we just had more and knowing that God could easily provide more…but He doesn’t.
I look to Paul’s writings and see a man who said he always hungered to go to places where the gospel had never been preached. And yet, he spent many of the most profitable years of his life (from any natural point of view) locked up in prison by Nero, the man John called the beast/anti-christ in Revelation.
How frustrating could that have been knowing God could have easily gotten him out at any moment…but didn’t?
Paul’s peace and life-fulfillment did not come from all he accomplished, the number of churches he planted or the volume of people he reached. It came from his absolute assurance that “all things work together for my good” (Rom 8:28) and “having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:10-11) .
Clearly, Paul was constantly pushing ahead to reach more and do more; and that desire was good and it was from the Lord. But he did not allow that desire to pressure him, drive him or make him feel guilty when God did not provide the means or opportunity.
Paul rested in the knowledge that God could open any door and provide any resource…when He chose to…because He does work all things after the counsel of His own will. At the same time, he never used the material blessings that came or the influence he had over other people to lavish on himself. In fact, he constantly warned “the rich of this world” to be very careful, to be very generous and always ready to give.
1 Tim 6:8-10- “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”.
Wow, doesn’t this sound like a severe warning to the current push among so many charismatics today that we should all be rich? How does this measure up to the popular message that we show the world how much God is blessing us by enjoying the best material things of this world?
Listen to the command Paul gives to Timothy in the next few verses-
1 Tim 6:17-19- “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
Look at that last line- “Take hold of the life that is truly life!” That’s what I hunger for!
So I want to always hunger to do more, reach more, bless more…without feeling guilty or fruitless when God doesn’t open the doors of opportunity or provide the resources to walk through them. I want to live in peace and rest, fellowshipping the Lord, as I wait to be led by the Spirit.
Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.