AIN’T NEVER ENOUGH (OR) THERE’S ALWAYS JUST ENOUGH?

What I write now is so obvious it’s almost like, why write it at all… but I’m doing so because I think it may be an encouragement to many in ministry and local churches who find themselves in rather the same predicament time after time.In Jesus People U.S.A. Ev. Cov.church/community, where I serve on the pastoral team, we interact with many people. Quite a few love Jesus fully, are “on fire” for the Lord and care deeply about His Word, His will and missions, locally and elsewhere. We’re doing a lot of outreach on a daily basis in all sorts of areas of need. By God’s grace we’ve been blessed seeing a fair bit of visible fruit in a good many lives over the years.As in most local congregations or ministry centers those gifted and called help to oversee various departments of service meet with staff often, in some cases on a daily basis. We also have committees who look after various needs within and outside our fellowship. I sit on a few of these boards/staffs, or on occasion I am invited to do so.After some 38 years of service I’ve discovered two universal truths: there seems to be nearly never enough a) money or b) responsible people to work in any particular department! I’ve further learned this is pretty much the same no matter what ministry, church or mission area one spends time with in the wide world…God has entrusted people to us who are full of need. Sometimes the needs are long-term. sometimes shorter and easier-to-resolve. There are issues of temptation and sin. Sometimes physical or mental/emotional illness are involved. We in leadership are likewise often in need. Sometimes it’s not the individual in question but their spouse or a child or two, perhaps other family members who are struggling. All of this weighs on the person which in turn affects their ability to think clearly, make sound judgments and at times may even eliminate their capacity to serve responsibly in a particular ministry.If the Lord deems you worthy of working with/alongside of broken people (and you’re likely broken in one or more areas yourself…) then does it not seem He does so at least in part, that you might both get discipled and learn to grow in the everyday flow of things while serving together? This is precisely how it looks to me, in JPUSA and elsewhere.If everyone is totally solid all the time, fully responsible, completely reasonable and rarely walks in anything but “the Spirit”, I’d say you don’t have some sort of ministerial utopia- rather you have a group God doesn’t at present believe He can entrust with hurting people.Or maybe you have a very active imagination?!Those who believe God has called them to minister purely to get a specific thingaccomplished with few or no hassles tend to function better in a corporate, not congregational world.Of course it’s best to vet people thoroughly or not give them “staff” or leadership responsibilities in the first place, but people change, illness or temptation strikes, for any number of reasons “speed bumps” pop up in most any ministering group.You may respond “But Glenn, isn’t the point to bring healed, stable people in to help the sick and unstable?” and my answer to that would be both “yes and no”. Empathy comes from feeling and entering into at least some amount of suffering with those who suffer… even -because- of those you’re serving.If you believe yourself to be perfect you’ll tend to have very little patience with those who aren’t.I’d say that the Father keeps us on our knees in prayer and creative In terms of finances. Prayer, careful thought, budgeting and stewardship of what He has given part of the foundation of any stable work. Linking with godly, experienced leaders in other ministries and local congregations is a huge part of how we learn to flow with the tides.And an oft-missed fact is that it’s not always money we need most. Our lack of prayer, lack of readiness to change, unwillingness to suffer a certain amount of loss/pain in terms of making changes, all of these can keep us locked into thinking it’s all (or mostly) about finances that keep this or that ministry from growing or accomplishing God’s purposes.Truth is, I don’t personally know of many local churches or ministries who actually have a surplus of funds they don’t know what to do with. Do you?! If you knew how close to the edge they were you’d likely not conclude they don’t have some of the same problems your fellowship does. To whom more is given, more will be required. That’s the way it really is!Need keeps us on our knees- seeking the Lord for guidance, direction, help, blessing in other ways as well as keeping us tight with Him in terms of provision.I doubt if humanly speaking, any Christian ministry is overdosed with finances and healthy, responsible people who never bring problems or pain to work with them. I think this has always been and shall always be the case.God is well-aware how we tend to depend on “the arm of the flesh”, in our own smarts, our own power, talents and our own ability as humans to make decisions apart from Him. He knows better than we do what a train-wreck such self-dependence can create.Much like physical exercise, such difficulties stretch us so that we can grow stronger. I’m not saying it’s always a fun ride, only that beneficial spiritual growth happens due to such things. Paul writes “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. A. W. Tozer wrote “miracles follow the plow”. Indeed so.May the Lord help us to lean on Him and not so readily complain about the need most all of us share world-wide. God’s Word is clear: He knows our needs before we ask Him, and He provides exactly what, who, when and how we need that provision. If He clearly does not over an extended period of time, perhaps we are carrying a burden He hasn’t called us to carry.We must remember and remind one another that God indeed has the whole world in His hands, and it’s certain He’s better at meeting need than any of us are.We can also be sure that it’s not the Lord’s will for us to beat ourselves up for our failures. At times we will fail in both loving our neighbor and in judgment calls on budgeting and finance.Nobody is literally “perfect” in doing ministry and mission, but may God help us to grow, trust and obey Him in love that more actual need can be met.In His will, way and timing, God meets the need.

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