As Christian leaders, we are some of the most ambitious people on earth! God designed some of us for this, but there are limits. Our ambitions need the guidance and guardrails of wisdom and humility before God. John the Baptist was called to be the forerunner of Christ to prepare the way of the Lord. After a few years of great “success” and popularity, John was left with only a handful of followers. When he was asked by his followers what to do with the lack of growth in ministry, John replied, “A man can receive nothing unless it is given him from above” (John 3:27). His evaluation led him to accept that he should not push to change the results. He made decisions based on faithfulness, not success. He lived as a called person. Ironically John the Baptist’s faithfulness led him to a reduced role, not a greater one. He knew his limits because he knew his callings. He stayed within his limits because he trusted and loved his Lord most. May the Lord give each of us discernment as we evaluate the following.
Question 1: ARE YOU TOO BUSY?
Principle 1: Called professionals accept that they are owned and limited by God, not free to do as they will.
Do you believe you are too busy? Do other people in your life believe you are too busy, saying things like, “You work too hard; you put in too many hours?” If so, what is driving this? Is God calling you to this? If not, what changes are needed at the heart and habit levels? What steps can you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for the grace to understand, and apply David’s humility before God as a solution to overworking.”
“O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.
Surely, I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.
Question 2: ARE YOU OVER-RESPONSIBLE?
Principle 2: Called professionals deeply depend upon God, not their efforts, for the results
Do you acknowledge your utter dependence upon God through regular prayer as you seek to accomplish work projects and goals? Are your prayers characterized as both thankful for past blessings and specific for current needs? If not, what changes are needed at heart and habit levels? What steps will you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for grace to understand, and apply the following truths about God as a solution to self-reliance and worry.
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in His sleep.
Question 3: DO YOU LACK DILIGENCE?
Principle 3: Called professionals diligently labor at their work, possessing the highest work ethic on earth.
Do you work hard at making your product or service the best that you can produce for your clients’ good and your Master’s glory? If not, what changes are needed at the heart and habit levels? What steps will you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for grace to understand, and apply the following truths as a solution to half-hearted efforts.
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Question 4: ARE YOU EARTHLY MINDED?
Principle 4: Called professionals are driven most by eternal and internal gains promised by the Lord, not by temporal gains which in time turn to dust.
Do you regularly stir your affections for the greater rewards through recalling to mind the glories of heaven and of becoming more like Christ? Is your passion for these things practically seen in your use of time, talents, and treasures? If not, what changes are needed at the heart and habit levels? What steps will you take? Honestly evaluate and plan biblical change. As you do, pray for grace to understand, and apply the following truths as a solution.
Driven by Eternal Gains –
Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’” (Also see Matt 6:19-20 and 2 Cor 4:17.)
Driven by Internal Gains –
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”
John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’