For Women in Ministry: You Are Something Else!
- Mary Southerland Author & Speaker
- 2004 7 Dec
Focus verse: Psalm 139:14-15 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body."
In order to allow the power of God to freely reign in our lives and flow through us, spilling out in ministry, we must cultivate spiritual habits. Habits are powerful motivators and determine the difference between failure and success in ministry as well as personally. Over the next few weeks we will look at seven habits that will enable us to experience true success - God's idea of success - in daily life and in ministry. This week, we will explore the foundational truth of who and whose we really are.
Habit one - Perceive your true identity!
Psalm 139:14-15 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body."
In order to be who God wants us to be and serve in the way He created us to serve we must first discover just how important we really are to Him. Learning to see ourselves as God sees us - no more and no less - will set us free to serve with joy and passion. When we begin to understand who we are in Christ His transforming power is then unleashed in us to work through us.
God made me - I am valuable!
I love a good sale, don't you? When I find a "75 percent off" tag I consider it to be a sign from the Lord! (At this writing, my husband has not yet discovered this truth.) In my quest to be a good shopper I have learned an important lesson. I will save money in the long run if I first check the label for a good name brand. I recently applied this principle when shopping for a new sofa. With the proceeds from our week-end garage sale in hand, I headed for the nearest outlet store, keeping in mind that I had a certain amount of money to spend and a unique color to match. Slipping quietly into the store, I browsed and compared, dismissing overly aggressive salesmen with a tight smile and the clipped comment, 'I am just looking." I finally narrowed the choice down to two sofas, both of which would work in my price range and color scheme. As I stood, contemplating my decision, a salesman quickly approached, smelling a sale in the air. Before he had time to think or speak, I whirled around to face him. "If your wife was buying one of these two sofas, which one would you tell her to buy?" I asked. Without the slightest hesitation he pointed to one of the sofas and said, "This one." I was impressed by his certainty and asked how he could so quickly make the choice. His answer was simple but profound. "This one is a better name brand, built by a company that has been in existence for years and has a reputation for building quality furniture. The other one is a cheap imitation."
And so it is with us. You can judge a product's potential - you can judge a product's value by looking at the One who created it. In other words, you are valuable - simply because you are created by the hand of God.
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
As a little girl, I loved to watch Billy Graham crusades on television mainly for one reason. I wanted to hear Ethyl Waters sing "His Eye is On the Sparrow". During one particular crusade, Miss Waters shared her life story before she sang. I was amazed to learn that she had been conceived in a rape. Long after Miss Waters sang her last note, I thought about the riveting testimony of this precious woman. My heart filled with awe, thanking God that through what we would probably call "an accident" or "tragedy", He created beauty and purpose. Ethyl Waters is a powerful and living illustration of God's stubborn love and the amazing truth that whatever touches us has to pass through His hands, with His permission. Why? Because we belong to Him! The Father made us - we are His, and as my seventeen year old daughter would say, "Girl, you are something else!" I couldn't' have said it better.
A personal word from Mary: Many times over the years, I have served God with the wrong heart motive. I have used the opportunity and privilege of ministry as a platform from which I fed my own sense of worth and serviced my narcissistic human goals. I served to be valuable instead of serving because I am valuable. Certainly my worth and value rest completely in Him and it is only because of the deposits He makes in my life that I am able to withdraw strength and power to live and minister. On my own, I have nothing and am nothing. Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I have everything and am valuable. Live today in the power of the truth that in God's eyes - you are something else!
Mary Southerland is a pastor's wife, mother of two teenagers, director with Proverbs 31 Ministries, author of Coming Out of the Dark (Harvest House, 2004), and conference speaker. She is also the founder of Journey Ministry, a teaching ministry dedicated to equipping every woman for her unique journey. Visit Mary's new website at www.marysoutherland.com
© 2004. Used by permission. All rights reserved.