“What’s wrong?” I said. “You don’t like it?”
He pushed the bowl away and said, “It needs sugar.”
I couldn’t believe it. I looked at my husband, and he shrugged. How did he know there was no sugar?
The same concept goes with ministry. A ministry leader can make sure that everything is perfect and looks great, but there is only one way to ensure that God’s sweetness (Holy Spirit) is present. Unless the leadership is sensitive and broken to the will of God, the Holy Spirit cannot freely move through the ministry like it should.
Before we had kids, God moved my husband and me to Dallas. I saw a commercial for a local Christian school, and I knew that God wanted me to teach there. The position paid very little, so I taught college at night. The year was challenging for me, and I couldn’t wait until summer so I could get outside the classroom.
I started applying to other positions, but I had an uneasy feeling that I was supposed to teach one more year. I got offered an amazing job located downtown Dallas, creating English software to help kids with standardized testing. I was ecstatic because this job paid twice the amount of my two current positions combined, and I could sit behind a computer and analyze grammar and syntax all day.
For five days, I wrestled with God. I knew He didn’t want me to take the job. I remember jogging on my treadmill, and I jumped so hard out of anger that I broke it. I stomped around my living room and finally fell against the wall crying. I cried until there was nothing left. My family and friends didn’t understand. Why would I not go for such an amazing opportunity? All I could say was, “God says so.”
During the last day of school, I finally resolved to be obedient, but I still felt very abandoned by God. I went to my desk and opened the Bible. I read Jeremiah 29.11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (NLT). I decided that I would learn everything God wanted to teach me the following year, so, hopefully, he would allow me to leave the classroom.
My last year teaching, I taught seven subjects, including seventh and eighth grade Physical Education. For one of the six weeks, I felt God wanted me to teach them a Christian song in sign language. I didn’t know anything about music, but two of my students were daughters of the choir teacher. I didn’t have a plan, so we just worked each day at putting together a performance. I taught the girls some “choreography” and the sisters helped with the chorus. We finally finished it, and the girls had created something special.
I saw the principal in the hall, and I asked if she wouldn’t mind just taking a quick look at what the girls had created. She said sure, and sat down in an empty auditorium. After the principal saw it, she demanded that they perform in front of the school at the next pep rally. The girls were thrilled, and I was happy that they were able to show the school how hard they worked.
The girls performed in front of the entire school, and the teachers and students were amazed. People were crying, and I didn’t understand what was going on. The choir director came up to me with tears in her eyes and said, “Now that’s what it’s all about.” Till this day I value the fact that she didn’t thank me. It was obvious that I did nothing except allow myself to be broken by God and stay obedient to His will.
God’s spirit is unleashed through the brokenness of the ministry leader. Leaders are called into dry areas, so Living Water can flow through them, saturating everything with God’s presence. However, the ministry leaders must be broken so that the Holy Spirit in them can move freely. Leaders are responsible for having a broken self-nature and an obedient heart; the rest is up to God.
God’s glory comes in all shapes and forms and through all types of ministries, but it is obvious when the Holy Spirit is present….you can taste His sweetness. God needs our brokenness, so the Holy Spirit in us has free reign. How is God breaking you today? Do you receive it or become callus? How would your ministry (family, marriage, career, relationships, etc.) be different if God’s Spirit was in control?
“Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies” (1 Corinthians 15.43-44 NLT).