By Steve McMichael
In the ministry we sometimes find ourselves seeking self-esteem when our greatest need is God-awareness.
Have you thought about your job lately? We are servants of the Most High God! As such, we present God’s word to His people. We are supposed to be giving His council! No wonder so many ministers struggle with self esteem. Have you ever felt completely inadequate? Today?
The reality of my inadequacy came crashing down on me recently. I had just completed a Bible study with a group of West African refugees when one of them, a tall gentleman, approached me for prayer. His presence was a bit intimidating, as he loomed over six feet tall and wore a stoic expression. He began:
“My father was killed.
My mother was killed.
My brothers were killed.
My sister was killed.
Life is hard.”
He said nothing else. It was my turn. I was supposed to say or do something to help him, though I felt completely exposed and helpless. At last I drew up the courage to pray, and then he left.
I went to the Bible after that, bruised but seeking. I found myself at 2 Corinthians 3. Paul is defending his ministry, and he states that he is an able minister, graced with a competency that comes from God. Here’s my takeaway from this passage:
No matter where you are, or what you are doing in ministry, competency comes from the Spirit of God. Any other source is, at best, lacking. Study is commanded (2 Timothy 2:15) and experience is profitable, but nothing substitutes for the Spirit of God when we face the point of a need. He must give us the words, ideas and strategies. How liberating to know that we do not have to produce life but only pass along the life He gives!
We will never act as compassionately or relate so completely with people as God does. Fortunately, our job does not require us to convince God to do anything. He is ever ready to yield His awesome power. We may ask boldly for divine intervention, not as a religious exercise, but as an expected reality.
Thus far this has been a great review of well-established truth, but the final ingredient requires action. Competent ministers take courage and act on dearly-held truths. Because I need what only God provides, and because He is good and willing to help, I will act (pray, plan, say etc.). We come back to the point of action, but equipped with far more than our resources, education or experience could provide. Courage is drawn from the same well as the rest of our spiritual life: God’s inexhaustible goodness. When there is a need, it is time to act.
These are the ingredients for competency: a heart and attitude dependent on the Spirit, an awareness of God’s goodness, and the courage to believe He is willing to act here and now.
Allow me to return to the gentleman in my story earlier. He remained in the Bible study. His countenance has softened and he is excited to study the Bible. Healing and peace are reworking His life after unimaginable hardship.
Allow God to take his place as the inexhaustible source of wisdom and power. Act from that place of confidence and get ready to get busy, because His love for people is dynamic and untiring.
Rev. Steve McMichael is a Global University Alumnus from the Berean School of the Bible and the Undergraduate School of Bible and Theology. McMichael currently serves as an International Pastor.