I had a chance to talk to the people ministering in our Family Ministries area yesterday. Looking at their faces told me they were tired - worn out by the toils and stresses of ministry. I had some "good" news for them: Isaiah 6. I am not sure why God led me to this passage (probably because I wanted to get to Isaiah 40 by way of chapter 6).
The area that I landed on was God's response to Isaiah's question "How long am I supposed to go to the Israelites?" God response will not win the "cheer of the year" award:
ISA 6:11 Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?"
And he answered:
"Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
ISA 6:12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
How is that for a rallying cry? How is that for motivation? God's answer did nothing to charge me up, encourage my spirit or rally me toward greatness. It was downright depressing.
As I thought of how this translated to leadership and followership, I understood on a deeper level that God is not asking me to produce results. He is asking me to open my hands and heart (here am I send me; 6:8b) to be His servant. He is asking me to be His hands, feet and voice to a lost and dying world; to represent Him. He is not asking me to produce anything - He is going to take are of that (besides, if I produced something than the glory will go to me).
I need to keep this in mind when the person I am talking to about obedience to God chooses to move away from God rather than to Him; OR when someone who I have invested many hours of time finds victory and takes huge steps of faith. God simply wants to use me as His vessel (not that I abandon the emotions of grief and joy over these situations; just gain some perspective when they happen). This gives me a perspective on what to expect, or rather what not to expect, in ministry. Thanks Isaiah for doing the hard work and recording it so I can learn!