Reality’s Core Value #4 ~ Call-driven not need-driven
This is number four in our series on Reality’s Core Values, and this one may save you from burn-out.
We are call-driven, not need-driven.
Something I learned early on while working at a church is that there are an overwhelming amount of needs represented in even the smallest communities. And with needs, comes a lot of pressure. Pressure to meet every need. Pressure to fix every problem. Pressure to be there at every ministry function. Pressure to attend to every emotional crisis. But the problem with trying to field every need is that we all have God-given limitations. No one can be or do everything. And that’s ok. In fact, it is a source of liberty if you are able to recognize and embrace it. Knowing what you are limited to allows you to focus.
Unfortunately many well-intended Christians, passionate for God and people, end up spread thin trying to meet every need that comes their way.
There is strange compulsion in the culture of our churches to do as much as possible, and even faithful Christians can feel less pious if they are not constantly busy with ministry activity. I understand where this comes from. What is a person to say “no” to anyway? Chances are, you’re saying “no” to a legitimately felt need. Saying “no” might require turning someone down that genuinely needs help. Saying “no” means turning down good opportunities to do great things. Perhaps even “ministry” things. And who is willing to do that? And so it goes, from vocational ministry opportunities to relational commitments, the calendar gets overbooked because the well-meaning follower of Christ can’t say ‘no.” Eventually, your busyness will take a toll on your relationship with God and your family, not to mention other important opportunities to which God may be calling you.
Know what the problem is? You’re driven by needs. The person who is driven by needs will always find themselves driven into the ground, because there is no end to amount of needs around you right now. And if you gauge your faithfulness to God by how many needs you can meet, you’ll quickly burn-out. And you’ll end up disappointed, disillusioned, and maybe even bitter.
And yet we are still called to meet needs around us. But how do we approach them when there are so many?
Look at Jesus.
He loved everyone, yet did not seem to driven by the needs of the moment. He met many needs. But he was driven by something else. Imagine the pressure of the world upon his shoulders, but instead of reaching the more populous Gentile nations (which is what he would later send Paul to do), he came with a smaller, specific mission to the “lost house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24).
What drove Jesus’ earthly ministry was His calling as God’s unique Son. Look at what he says to his disciples:
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’” (John 5:19)
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49)
Jesus did only what he saw his Father doing. He only spoke what his Father told him to speak. He was led by the Spirit (Matt. 4:1). It was not the overwhelming needs that drove Jesus to meet them; it was his overwhelming love for the Father’s will that drove him to meet needs.
Jesus was call-driven, not need-driven.
In fact, Jesus exercised this obedience to that Father even at the expense of his own needs. For when the time came to die, he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus was call-driven to the very end.
We want to be call-driven too.
What does this mean in daily practice?
- It means we seek to be prayerfully led by the Spirit in the decisions we make as a church.
- It is the reason we do not have ministries for every feasible need, only the ones we believe God is calling us to.
- It means we recognize our limitations as given to us by God, and honor them by not taking on too many responsibilities