“Everything’s changed; you’ll never do ministry the same.”
Recently I reflected on these words my friend had said long ago, referring to a time God spoke to her about her path in ministry. Her and her husband co-lead as pastors, and they both realized that in order to effectively move forward in the direction God had for them in ministry, they needed to not just consider change but fully implement something new rather than rely on what they had always known and the successes they’d experienced in reaching out to people and growing their ministry.
I thought about how in various ways their humble example and response held a crucial characteristic for not only pastors but leaders in general.
Submission is a word that doesn’t always leave the greatest impression on people, especially those who are very driven or used to being in leadership.
As humans, it is very easy for us to get caught up in what we are doing, or what we think we are meant to do. But sometimes we are wrong.
Sometimes we must change direction.
Sometimes sacrifice is involved.
Sometimes we are tested in how truly selfless (or selfish) we are.
My new favorite Bible character is Ezra. I love how Ezra is fully submissive before God through all his opportunities and leadership roles. His eyes are always on the true goal. Even when he is given great favor and opportunities by a king, in addition to being placed in that position by God, his heart is humble and he lives his life for the glory of God and the betterment of others, not himself.
Not only is it important to be submissive before God rather than rely on our own wisdom, knowledge, and experience, but it’s important as leaders to also have an attitude that is open to feedback.
We mustn’t allow pride or offense to rise up. It can sneak up on the best of us. We must take our path and decisions continually before God in prayer.
I can recall many times I thought I was meant to go in a specific direction, but after consideration and prayer, it was evident that actually wasn’t the path I was meant to take in that season. Sometimes I’ve had to halt what I am doing halfway through and completely give it to God. In disappointment, frustration, and feeling confused, I’ve asked God, “Why lead me in that direction to begin with?”
In my Spirit, I’ve felt these words in response to my question:
Sometimes God tests whether we will continue to work toward a goal or follow a path that is based on our own motives or if we’ll stop what we’re doing to completely listen to and rely on him.
In what ways do you believe you need to be more submissive, whether through action or attitude?
Do you feel there are circumstances, paths, or attitudes you to need to bring before him and possibly adjust, despite what your human nature wants to do?