By Rick Warren
If you’re like me, you often feel inadequate for doing what God has called you to do. We look at the big job God has given us – to equip his people for ministry–and we know we can’t do it on our own. We see massive needs in our community – spiritual, physical, emotional and mental – and we realize we can’t meet all of them with our limited resources and talents.
But that’s exactly where God wants us?
He wants us to respond like David. In Psalm 23, David didn’t say he placed his trust in government, work or money. David recognized God as the source of fulfilling his need. He said, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
There’s a clear sign that shows when we’re not doing this in our ministries – stress. If you’ve started looking at needs in your ministry and it’s stressing you out, you’re probably not depending upon God to meet your need.
Jesus has strong words about our worry. He compares it to atheism. Matthew 6:31-33 says, “So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen?” (TLB) Worry says you believe God can’t take care of your needs. If you believe that, you might as well be an atheist.
Why is it so easy to worry about our needs rather than let God meet them?
First, we’re trained — from the moment we’re born — to depend upon ourselves, particularly in the United States. Americans are the most independent-minded people in the world. We’re taught: “God helps those who help themselves.” Baloney! That’s a quote of Ben Franklin, not of Jesus. It’s not biblical; it’s secular. God helps those who look for Him as their only source for what they need.
Second, we also have a tendency to confuse the channel with the source when our needs are met. Even leaders who have been believers for many years fall into this. We tend to think our supply comes from our church, our bank account, other people or somewhere else that appears to be meeting our need. Those things are all channels that God uses from time to time – but God is the one who actually meets our need. James 1:17 reminds us of this: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)
Sometimes God dries up the channel in our lives because we’ve been looking to the channel rather than Him. Take Elijah, for example. The Bible says that God took Elijah, to a brook and the ravens were bringing food to him. He was having a wonderful vacation from ministry. Then the brook went dry and he started to complain. You’ve provided for all of my needs. You cared for me. You had this brook, which provided fresh water, and now it’s all dried up. But as long as the brook kept running, Elijah would have stayed put. God wanted to move him on.
Sometimes God dries up the brooks in your life and the situation goes sour because God wants to move you, too.
If we trust the Lord as our shepherd, we won’t just trust Him with part of our lives – but all of it! Paul says in Philippians 4:19,”And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”(NLT) That means you can trust God with any of your needs. Whether your ministry needs more workers, more resources, more creative, more time – or all of the above, God is fully capable of providing it. Do you really believe that? Where God guides, He provides.
But your true source – God – will never dry up. You can count on that. Keep your eyes on Him and worry won’t survive. He may use a different channel than you expect, but trust Him. It’s exciting to watch God meet a need in a channel you don’t expect. Trust that while you’re not enough to make a difference in ministry, He is.
What are you lacking in your ministry right now? Don’t worry. Trust the Lord.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.