Have you ever had a dream or a vision or a goal that you were sure was from God that sort of just never happened?
So many dreams that come from the heart of God die early because we presume too much and take whatever we think He said and try to replicate something we’ve seen before.
Maybe the Holy Spirit prompts us to start preaching outdoors and we immediately expect to become Philip the evangelist, walking in cities and turning them upside down with gospel. When people don’t come out confessing their sins and burning their incantation books we think this must not be for me and stand behind a pulpit instead.
Maybe God stirs our hearts to work with orphans and we immediately set about becoming Heidi Baker and having an international ministry caring for thousands of orphaned children. The trouble is we get more into ideas about building the ministry than working with the nearest orphans we can find and loving them. Maybe we get overwhelmed by the idea of running an organisation when God never said any of that.
Perhaps we feel a Divine calling to be a worship leader and immediately try to become Tim Hughes and ignore the requests for someone to lead worship for the 7-10 year olds.
Even if we do “start small” we assume that starting small must mean that what we’re doing will end up “big” and so we jump at opportunities to make that happen. And so if it doesn’t happen or doesn’t happen quick enough we either get disillusioned and do something else or we get bitter and decide the people around us must be holding us back somehow and we go looking for greener pastures where we think we’ll have better opportunities.
Too often we fail to be faithful because we’re trying to be famous.
We end up seeing moments with God as transitory and miss out on the intended glory.
This is a huge tragedy because we can end up missing out altogether on the purpose God gave us the task for in the first place. When we pursue the task with the wrong heart it doesn’t produce the right fruit in us. Down the line we wonder why we’re not feeling fulfilled even though we’re living the dream and it’s because the dream we’re not living isn’t His. It’s our version of His, made up of a patch-work of dreams we’ve seen before and tried to replicate. The sad thing is it may stand tall as majestically awe-inspiring monument in the eyes of men but in God’s eyes it’s just a child’s tower of lego ot worse a tower of Babel.
We measure our success in what we feel our calling is by how “big” it gets. Do lots of people know about it/talk about it/like it/copy it? This takes our eyes away from pursuing the pleasure of God in fulfilling His will and we find ourselves quickly in people-pleasing prison. We start tempering what we feel God is saying to us with our estimate of how people will respond. When people respond well we assume we’ve done the will of God when we really might not have. When people don’t respond well we assume we’ve missed God or misheard Him. We only hear the story of the people who ended up with something big because those are the only people we give microphone or a stage to. We have less value for people who can’t show us the earthly rewards of their faithfulness but we’ll get some surprises in heaven. Our works will be tested by fire and some will be destroyed because they weren’t rooted in what God said but we’re geared towards making it big.
The way we do church in the West can create this struggle in people. We turn our worship leaders into rockstars and so people who want to be rockstars end up being worship leaders. The focus can slowly move away from wanting to help people worship God onto writing the best songs and getting exposure. The dreams in our hearts and our conversations can become less about lifestyles of worship on earth reflecting the devotion of worship in heaven and more about image and marketing. You can be a rockstar to the glory of God and there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to do that but the question of are you trying to be famous or faithful has to be asked.
We turn our preachers into motivational speakers and so people who want to be motivational speakers end up becoming preachers and sermons become solely focused on taking people on an emotionally uplifting journey that makes them feel empowered. The focus can slowly move away from preaching the Scriptures and the prophetic word of the Lord to giving pep-talks and sending everyone home happy. The dreams in our hearts and our conversations can become less about allowing the sharp, living word of God to do its work and more about gathering large crowds and getting hits on YouTube.
You can be a motivational speaker to the glory of God but…you get the picture. We still have to ask ourselves the question, are we trying to be famous or faithful?
Why not get together with some friends you trust and ask each other the question: Famous or Faithful? If you’re feeling really brave, why not ask them to tell you what they think about your answer!
Hope this challenges you and pushes you forward.