At some point in my seminars, I always say that as a staff worker (volunteer or paid) you hopefully have a ministry (or job) description. The most important thing that should be on that description…your first, and primary responsibility as a leader, is to hear from God. This is sometimes assumed or flat out neglected.
The most important thing about your job is not what you do, but who you are in Jesus. We increasingly discover this as we take time to hear from him.
First Samuel chapter three is very instructive on this issue. Verse one tells us that during that particular time period messages from the Lord were rare and visions quite uncommon. The bottom line was nobody was hearing from God or had received a vision from God as to what He wanted to do. The problem was not that God had nothing to say, but that no one was truly listening.
Along comes Samuel. God speaks to him as he is sleeping. He thinks it’s Eli. Both of them soon realize that God is speaking to Samuel. In verse 10 Samuel says, “Speak, for your servant hears.” (ESV) In some translations it says, speak for your servant is listening. The Message has it: “Speak for your servant is ready to listen.”
The most important thing you can be/do as a leader is be ready to listen to what God wants to say to you--and through you. In verse 17, Eli says to Samuel, “What was it that he told you?” (ESV).
This is a question that all leaders should be challenged to regularly ask each other: What has the Lord been showing you, teaching you, making clear to you? What have you been hearing?
We live in a fast-paced culture with lots of “noise” constantly coming our way. There is a good chance your ministry context is also fast paced with more going on than you think you are capable of handling. We all desperately need to hear from the Lord. For me personally I want to be:
- Intentional about listening
- Ready to listen
- Eager to listen
- Motivated to clearly hear (and respond) to what he is saying to me
Because of our propensity to keep super busy, feeling like there doesn’t seem to be enoug hours in a day to get everything done, we need to:
- Be quiet and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10)
- Gain perspective when we feel like we’re living and ministering in a fog. We might not always get clarity or answers, but we can get perspective.
- Know what we should be doing at any given moment.
- Be reminded of the cross, the resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit in our life.
Jesus, forgive us for traveling so fast that we, at times, figuratively leave you in the dust and ignore you. Forgive us for worrying ourselves into a frenzy and forgetting that you are God. Forgive us for calling you father on Sunday and then acting and ministering the rest of the week like we’re orphans. Please give us a fresh desire to know you, being ready to listen to you. Thank you that you desire for us to have perspective, peace and power in our lives.