By Joshua Bingle
Hey millennial in ministry:
I love you. I get you. I deeply understand your fears and your hangups, your optimism and your zeal. I get you because I am you.
And because I am you, I feel the burden to remind you of something very important:
- – Talent doesn’t move God’s heart.
- – Neither do our intentions. – Nor our sacrifices.
- – Those things don’t move the meter in heaven.
- – Obedience does.
Put another way:
the talent that we bring to the table, even when brought with the best of intentions as an offering to the Lord, is less desirable to the Father than our obedience is.
How often I get that one backwards.
More often than I’d like to admit, I value showing my talent over sowing my obedience; my “value-add” over my “submit-under;” my public ministry over my private relationship. I wonder how many opportunities to delight my Father and improve my church I’ve missed while pouting that somebody overlooked my talent. God help me.
“To obey is better than a sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production.”
------------ Samuel 15:22b (ESV, MSG)
And I get it.
We want to be seen and heard. We’re at the table because there’s some God-given talent inside of us that somebody noticed, and we have a deep desire for that talent to be used for God’s glory. But jockeying for stage time and leadership opportunities is not just tiring and gross, it’s straight-up backwards. There’s no healthy fast-track to God’s will for your life. You can’t speed up the plan or the platform He’s preparing for you.
Time patiently and whole-heartedly submitted under God-ordained leadership is never wasted. In fact, God delights in it.
"So let’s make a pact right here and right now. We’re gonna spend more energy perfecting our obedience than promoting our gifts. We’re gonna stop secretly resenting our leaders for not recognizing us. We’re gonna serve and submit quickly and joyfully and let God grow our influence when He sees fit."
------------ (Proverbs 18:16).
That’s the kind of Jesus-follower that we want to be. And by His power and grace, we will accomplish our mission.