by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Acts 11:19-26
In every ministry there are at least three essentials that produce an atmosphere of joyous cooperation. They are objectives, people, and places.
First, whatever God plans, He pursues. That has to do with the ministry essential of objectives. There's nothing wrong with having a clearly defined mission statement that gives direction and purpose to the vision of a ministry. In fact, there's everything right about it as long as it is the Lord who provides the direction. God's plan unfolds in ways that confound human wisdom and sometimes defy common sense. But it is His plan. Objectives are essential when they are His objectives, not ours.
Second, whomever God chooses, He uses. That has to do with the ministry essential of people. And I must quickly add, the people God chooses are never perfect. That includes me. That includes you. In fact, we prove more useful to the Lord when we accept that reality and trust Him with our imperfections.
Third, wherever God selects, He sends. That has to do with the ministry essential of places. I wish He would send all of the great ones to Stonebriar Community Church. And I wish He would never let any of them leave. That's desire based on my limited human perspective. I never prayed this prayer, but I've been tempted to pray, "Lord, send us only the great ones and keep them here forever. Don't ever take them anywhere else." (Being imperfect, I'm not above a few selfish prayers!)
God's plan, however, includes removing some very gifted people among us and sending them elsewhere. His ways are not our ways. His places are not the places we would choose to go on our own. None of that matters. What matters is this: God sends people of His choosing to places of His choosing. The sooner we accept and embrace that truth, the more contented we will be.
Ministering together is always an adventure. It's about embracing change. It's about maintaining flexibility. It's about walking with God through the surprising events He has designed. Barnabas needed help. The work was too much for one gifted but limited man. Paul stepped into the gap. And together they turned Antioch upside down for Christ.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.