Zechariah Chapter 4:6 – “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty”
As far as I am concerned, this is the central message we need to “live” in order to survive in ministry. Not understanding the balance between our effort and His is what brings about most of our frustrations in ministry. When we undertake to do what only He can do we carry a burned and responsibility that can only lead to disillusionment and burnout. On the other hand, if we do not recognize our part in His plan for our lives we live in a state of insignificant passivity. Unfulfilled potential haunts us.
Faith is touted as the solution to grappling with this fine balance. It is said that if we just have enough faith then God must act to fulfill our dreams and visions. The idea is that faith can somehow provide the divine power to fulfill even the things He has not called us to do. Sadly, this is not the case. God is never under any obligation to bring about anything other than His will. Yes, there are exceptions, principally in the life of Moses. God can change His mind but it is a very rare occurrence and not one we should count on.
As to faith, what is it anyway? Being a person of great faith comes down to little more than believing that God will do His part despite our weaknesses and failures. Our part is little more than obeying what He tells us to do and trusting Him for the outcome.
BUT … obeying in a state of anxiety, fear and striving is not faith at all. The knowledge of what is our part and what is God’s part is critical to living the Christian life “gracefully”. When “success” is not our problem we can rest in the work. All we have to do to know our part is to know God’s written word well and stay in daily communication and intimacy with Him.
The balance is much like my dancing. When I dance with Shelley I have no idea what I am doing. I pay attention to her and she sends subtle clues as to what she wants us to do next. If I pay attention and pick up the clues I end up actually dancing and looking like I know what I am doing. At times it even looks graceful. Sometimes in moments of complete self abandonment I will even come up with an idea of what we should do next. She always picks up my cues ….. look I’m dancing! So dance on!