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Devotionals : Eyes on the Prize
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Eyes on the Prize

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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"So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That's why I work and struggle so hard" Col 1:28-29

"I dunno know when it's a ministry and when it's a show" - Newsboys

I always aspire to write devotionals which appeal to everyone, but today I feel called to write for a special audience. Though I hope everyone can find something to take away from this devotional, my message is intended for my brothers and sisters in full-time Christian ministry.

It's hard enough to be a devoted Christian in today's complex, turbulent world. If we're not vigilant, the cares of the world creep in with so much pressure that we remove Jesus from his rightful place as the Lord of our life. It takes tremendous faith, dedication and obedience to make sure we keep our relationship with Jesus as the highest priority in our lives, right where it belongs.

All of this becomes amplified to an unbelievable extreme when we are among those called to serve God in full-time ministry. Suddenly, we feel responsible for the welfare and salvation of all those trusted to our care. The responsibilities are enormous. And in response, we plunge into our work with selfless abandon, offering everything we have to give.

But then, if we are not careful, a shift begins to happen. We begin to measure the effectiveness of our ministry in the only way we know how. Since we cannot be certain how many lives we have helped to change or souls we have helped lead to Christ, we start to examine book reviews, concert ticket sales, web site visitors or church attendance.

Suddenly, and often without warning, those measurements become the end rather than the means. Instead of seeing ourselves as being in the service of the Lord, we risk seeing ourselves as authors, public speakers, counselors or musicians who simply happen to have chosen a Christian message rather than secular one. We are no longer laboring for the Gospel, we are laboring for our own accomplishments and accolades. God was part of the picture when we began our ministry, but now we've got work to do, and that work doesn't always appear to have anything to do with God at all.

It's not my intention to disparage anyone; this is an area we struggle with daily at Delve Christian Ministries. It can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. What we do, from one perspective, is create and operate web sites. What we do, from a much broader and more important perspective, is lead people to Christ. As soon as we forget the latter, the former becomes irrelevant.

Keeping that perspective is difficult, and the single most important decision you need to make is to not allow yourself to own your ministry. Your ministry belongs to God. When this idea is planted firmly in your mind, front and center, you will see things in a different light. You will remember that your ministry has really nothing to do with books, music, speaking engagements or websites. Your ministry is, to paraphrase Paul, to help people into a right relationship with Jesus. That is why you work and struggle so hard.

Through diligent prayer and reading of scripture, allow God to set the pace and make the choices. When difficulties arise, do what you can to solve the problem, but always remember that God is in charge and has a solution prepared. Permit God to own all the praise for the successes, while at the same time, understand that what seem like failures or setbacks are also part of his long-term plan. If you really want to know how effective your ministry has been, forget the statistics and sales reports. Forget about being a missionary, musician, evangelist or pastor. Simply turn to God and ask Him, "Have I achieved your vision for your ministry?"

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This was very helpful me, I really appreciate it. God is in control of all things and sometimes we fail to remember that it's not about us it's about the Lord. Keep up the good work. May the Lord bless and keep all readers.
1/10/2008 2:19:27 PM - anonymous

We should not strive to be Marthas but rather Marys because Marys know to tarry with the Lord Jesus Christ to draw sustenance from Him. Indeed, when we serve God, we must serve with our whole heart. 100 with God or the highway so to speak because God is in Control of everything and all that we have comes from him and we must be yielded totally to him in order for HIM to use us effectively. We should not have pride (remember what happened to Lucifer). We should give thanks and all Praises & Glory be to GOD.
1/13/2008 10:43:06 AM - anonymous

Excellent devotion and comments. I was going to start off our first Elders' meetings for the year with quotes from various high profile leaders. After the quotes, I wanted to point out how Jesus lead because Jesus is the greatest example of a leader we could ask for. As He walked this earth, His leadership started out on his knees with the Father. Since I read this devotion, I am going to start with it and then give my brothers the following verses: Mark 1:35-37 and Luke 5:15-16. I will also point out that the Lord God brought our congregation through a rough year and not our efforts. If we are not careful we will begin this year as a bunch of Martha's, willing to serve but not willing to listen to the Holy Spirit. I'll tell you honestly that I have accomplished so much more by allowing the Lord to handle my burdens. When we get overwhelmed, we have already taken our eyes off of Christ. When you finally drop to your knees, you'll feel His gentle nudge and hear Him saying, "Hey, you had enough? Why don't get out of the drivers seat and let me take over again?"

Thanks Brothers!
1/14/2008 2:53:27 PM - anonymous

thank you!
I been full time minitry for 6 months... and ministry how I knew is totally diferent now. And was felling that I need to know something about it, one clue or something..
Read your devotional was helpful, thank you for let the Spirit guide you to write to us.

Be the Lord good with you as His nature is.
1/17/2008 10:52:21 AM - anonymous

Thank you much for this article. Your advice that we should not own our ministry but see our ministry as belonging to God is Key and foundational to do things based on God's agenda and not on ours. After all its about fulfilling God's purpose in the world and we just willing with a desire to share in the work God desires to accomplish through lives like ours. I thank God for even this ministry. I pray that God continue to use you to be an inspiration, a blessing and encouragement to people like me. Again Thank you.
1/17/2008 3:03:38 PM - anonymous

Thanks, it's always good to be reminded that God is in control. We don't always see things through His eyes.
More of Him, and less of me. You have to take out of the jar in order to make room to put something new in.
Today's the day, let's let Jesus shine!
God bless, and thanks again,
Chuck Cilano, (missionary serving in NE Thailand)
1/22/2008 9:34:32 PM - anonymous

I know this is true and we must all obey God and read his word. Your messages on this site are very helpful. I agree with what you are saying.

Thank you,
1/23/2008 12:57:21 PM - anonymous

I Enjoyed reading the comments of those in full time ministry.JESUS teaches us in sripture,'' The Harvest is truely plenteous but the laborers are few.There is so much work to be done.Many of us even in part-time ministry often wonder ''Are people really listening to the GOSPEL message we preach?my word of ecouragement is this,If one soul is snatched from the pit of hell its worth it bros.and sisters ''keep fighting the good fight of faith'' cause this Jesus we serve is able to save us from the guttermost to the uttermost.halleluha/minis.dly
1/25/2008 3:36:42 PM - anonymous

1/29/2008 10:55:09 AM - anonymous

Coming from someone who came so close to doing Christian Ministries when I graduated high school but instead pursued a different route and lost his way. Now after four years I am coming back to Christ. Pray for me to take that leap of faith when the Spirit leads me.
1/29/2008 11:48:18 PM - anonymous

A devotional that is written every day for full-time ministers would be something that I would read! This was very helpful for me today, but there are so many issues that we deal with. When you pour your heart into something that's not just about a paycheck... but still about a paycheck... it's so easy for Satan to create fear in your life. We work in a spiritual job with secular trappings. That fear is what leads me to those places where my focus is off of God. We need to do some spiritual warfare on behalf of each other and get back to basics in our own spiritual lives. I know I do, at least.
1/30/2008 8:52:19 AM - anonymous

Thank you for these words of inspiration. I was looking for another passage, but God would have me gain greater understanding from these words of affirmation.
2/12/2008 6:55:53 AM - anonymous

I think success is fleshly,to die to self daily is godly.Is this 100 fulproof no this is just the what we strive to attain. Every charecter in the bible had flaws,so I guess that"s something to use when your a rolemodel or leader/ superstar.Be not perfect be persistent and consistant in serving GOD........
2/12/2008 11:55:59 PM - anonymous

I am a "Born again Christian". Me and my mom have just been saved 0n Nov 25 and Baptisted on Feb 3 and I can honestly say I feel blessed. I just started reading the Bible and I am Learning about Jesus Christ. My mother has been taking me to my new church and I found a new family there. Me and my 2 daughters (3yr old & 5 yr old) and 6 yr old niece enjoy every Wed and Sunday we are able to go. And with GODs Blessings we will continue to go. I LOVE Myself today because I know Jesus Loves Me I Thank Him For always listening to my daily prayers. GOD BLESS YOU. My Name is Yajaira I. Cepero.
2/18/2008 5:28:19 AM - anonymous

I will continue to pray for you Yajaira I. Cepero, you are a special person and God does love you so much! and your lovely children. I am in ministry for gay single men and I keep struggling with this but have to remember constantly that God is the one who saves not me. Sometimes it gets very discouraging but I know the Lord is working in their lives. It just makes you wonder when all is said and done and you are on your death bed and getting ready to draw your last breath to know you are going to the right place and you know you have done all you can to help the less fortunate get there also. Think about it.
5/28/2008 3:59:13 PM - anonymous

Thank you so much... as you stated... I had turned my focus to numbers and achievements rather than God's vision and his will for my life. I ask all to pray with me for me to be back on track with God and His will for my life.
7/31/2008 9:13:23 AM - Godislove, Member of Delve into Jesus since 7/31/2008

Thank You for taking time out to write this - it is an important message one the Lord has been teaching me since he called me out into full time ministry - when you come from a background of being somebody i.e. holding a high position with qualifications and certificates in that role, it is so difficult to just let go of that identity and let God; God is teaching through his Holy Spirit. Let God train and equip us and build the part of the ministry he desires to place in our hands. He does all things well.

Yours in His Service
Linda J
Beautiful Joyful Spirit
12/5/2008 11:54:58 AM - anonymous

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