Writing on the blog for me is something I have felt has been prompted by God as a way to serve Him better. I think it has to be just based on the things He has allowed me to write. I couldn't do that by my own strength. Warren Wiersbe says that "ministry is not something we do for God but something God does in and through us: For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13). The 'willing' and the 'working' both come from God. Whatever God calls us to do, we can do with His help; otherwise, He never would have called us: He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it" (1 Thess. 5:24).
I told myself when I started that this would be a great place to journal (especially now that it can be printed) and that if others read it and got something out it, great. Then once people started leaving comments, emailing me, or approaching me about it, I started to feel this obligation to write more. This has left me feeling a little stressed when I don't write for long periods of time. This is something I worried about when I started writing. I don't want writing to become like a chore or a "job". It is really not meant to "serve" others but to serve and glorify God. I am reading a book called "On Being a Servant of God" by Warren W Wiersbe. He puts it this way: "Of the three persons involved in a ministry - the Lord, the minister, and the person ministered to - the Lord must come first". We have these words from the bible to guide us "and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Col 3:23-24). If you take your focus and service off of God and put it towards the people, it's not going to work. It's going to feel like a burden, a job, but God promises His yolk is easy (Matthew 11:30). When you focus on Christ you'll be motivated to do your best, not watch what others are doing, and the burden will be light. Lately I have felt the burden to be heavy. By reading chapters of this book, I have come to the conclusion of the fact that I am focusing on serving the people, or myself, instead of Christ. Its not like I write all the time on here, but when I am not writing, I'm thinking about what I will write about next. I am really only trying to write as I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit.
Warren says "Ministry isn't easy, but you make it more difficult for yourself if you serve people instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can't please everybody, so don't even try. Just live and work in such a way that your Master will be able to say, "You are My beloved servant in whom I am well pleased". I have two points I want to make after reading/writing these statements from Warren. The first is the point of not being able to please everyone. I have to confess and address the issue of anonymous comments. I guess I was naive to believe that no one would leave comments that would be hurtful. I guess I figured that if someone didn't like it or didn't want to read it, they wouldn't. I forgot that I am not excluded from being hurt even though I am following and serving the Lord. These comments have really been getting to me. I didn't really want to draw attention to them for a couple of reasons...the obvious being my pride. I started feeling like maybe I should just not write anymore. Is writing worth the hurt and frustration over some comments? Then I thought about how silly that statement was considering what God went through for us. Jesus was criticized, spit on, even crucified and he knew it all was going to happen before it happened. He still went on with it. "If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him" (CT Studd). All I have is a few hurtful comments and I want to throw in the towel!!? It isn't about me...it's not about others, it's about serving and glorifying God. And wouldn't Satan want me to just delete the whole thing? A good friend of mine gave me this advice: "Be aware that the enemy will stir up people to leave anonymous comments. Isn't that a code name for the enemy? He doesn't blatantly put his name on anything, but anything that is 'hidden is connected to him!" I had never thought about it this way! Warren also says something similiar in his book that the evidence that your work is glorifying God is when the enemy opposes what you are doing! He also says that "God often allows problem people to come into your life so that you'll learn to depend more on His power and not your own resources. He not only wants to do something through us, He also wants to do something in us; and that is why certain people show up in our lives. God uses them to encourage us to pray, trust the Word, and depend on the Spirit for love and grace. Difficult people and difficult circumstances can be used by the Spirit to help us grow and become more like Christ". Even in my measly situation, this is so ever true! I have certainly leaned on Him more during this time. He goes on to say "You'll meet problem people and problem situations wherever you go, so make up your mind to expect them, accept them, and let God use them in your life. The devil wants to use problem people as weapons to tear you down, but the Spirit can use them as tools to build them up". Again, I am in awe of how God allows me to "choose" material to read based on the timing of when I will need it. I can't believe I have been praying over this very thing and then God reveals these awesome words and answers to me.
The second point would be the point of serving our Master. "Just live and work in such a way that your Master will be able to say, 'You are My beloved servant in whom I am well pleased'". When I I think of the word Master, I think of a boss...an autority figure. I think back to working and the number of bosses I have gone through. How I prayed to not have a boss anymore, not work for anyone but Jesus Christ, the true master. Many people know how long and hard I prayed from before my daughter was born up until the time it happened...I felt called to be home with my child/children. I knew it was where God wanted me but I couldn't convince my husband. He saw $$ where I was seeing precious time passing by. So I prayed...I had many, many of you pray and when we had kicked our feet for too long, not obeying, God allowed me to lose my job...not quit. As tough as that was to swallow, I knew it was where God wanted me anyhow, so I scooped myself up turned it toward Him. I can still see the looks of all the women in my bible study when I told them our prayers had been answered..."I got fired, isn't it wonderful?!" (with a big smile and tears in my eyes). They had never seen someone so happy to lose their job of 10 years. He didn't answer those prayers quite the way I would have liked, but I guess I wasn't specific and God was tired of waiting for us to make the decision just by His prompting. So He took care of it himself and I am glad He did. I feel the same way as Warren when he says "I would rather have Jesus Christ as my Master than anyone else I know. He loves me, He knows all about me, He made me, He knows the future, and He gives me the power I need to serve Him acceptably and fruitfully. When I fail, He forgives me and helps me start over again. He never leaves me or forsakes me and he rewards me graciously, though I don't desrve it. Could you want a better Master than that?"
I guess my whole point to this post is to be an encourager to you. Words can tear each other down or build one another up. If you are going through something similiar, remember who you are serving. It's easy to get caught up in what others think, but really the only person who should matter is God. If we are doing right by His eyes, then we should be able to hold our heads high and know that He hasn't made a mistake. "If God has called you to minsiter, no matter what the ministry may be, He hasn't made a mistake. He knows what He's doing and the best thing you can do is gratefully submit to His will and trust Him to work" (Wiersbe, Warren 2007). Even through hurtful comments on the blog and loss of a job, God continues to show me things through it, holds me closer, and makes me stronger through it. Even sort of unwillingly writing this post...I'm thinking "you want me to write that??! Please...anything but that!" But I trust that by writing it, I am better serving and glorifying Him.
"Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant (Galations 1:10).
"So encourage each other and build each other up...(1 Thess 5:11)