In our quest to faithfully serve God, the danger is in becoming too involved in worthy causes that detract from our individual ministry purpose.
Feeding the hungry is a good thing, but has God called you to spend several hours a week in a soup kitchen? Serving the homeless is a noble cause, but has God called you to volunteer at a homeless shelter?
After Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness following his baptism, he was hungry. The first thing Satan tempted Jesus with was food. Turning stones to bread would have not only solved Jesus’ hunger but many others. Surely he was sympathetic to the needy in his community. Yet Jesus refused Satan’s offer.
Jesus didn’t lack empathy for the hungry. Throughout the Gospels, we see examples of Jesus feeding thousands rather than sending them on their way after he preached. But eradicating hunger in the world wasn’t Jesus’ ministry.
Satan will present service opportunities, which are charitable, yet divert from a more important ministry in that moment. If we’re not careful (or prayerful), we’ll jump at every opportunity to serve, even if it diminishes our capacity to fulfill the role God called us to.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.” Matthew 13:24b-26
The flower on the right is a daucus pusillus or, in lay terms, Wild Carrot or Rattlesnake Weed. According to legend, it can be used as a poultice for a rattlesnake bite. Weeds serve as food in the animal kingdom. Like many weeds, this one produces a beautiful flower.
Weeds can be beautiful or even beneficial while at the same time destructive. Left unchecked, they choke out vital crops for man. The same is true when we participate in activities, however worthy, when we’re called to do something else for that season in our life.
The purpose of the enemy sowing weeds is to reduce the Kingdom harvest.
Are you busy turning stones to bread while the enemy sows weeds in your ministry field? Is the Kingdom work you were called to do getting your leftover time and talent?
If you feel overworked, overcommitted, or stressed, ask God for clarity in your ministry. Perhaps you’re right where He wants you for spiritual growth. Perhaps not. He might point you in a different direction.
How may I pray for you today? Please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. My contact info is under the heading above marked “Talk to Me.” While you’re here, would you lift up those who leave prayer requests, as well as those on the prayer list at the top of the blog?
© Laura Hodges Poole
Stones image courtesy of suphakit73/freedigitalphotos.net.
Post from archives—originally published May 29, 2012.