I have always been actively serving in church. Ever since I was a teenager, I would always be in church over the weekends and during my holidays helping in whatever way I could.
Over time, I was asked to serve in different ministries. Throughout my education and army life, I would devote most of my time serving in church. It seemed normal to continue serving even when I started working, and while the demands of my time grew stronger, I never felt that I should reduce my commitment in serving the local church.
There were moments that I felt like quitting, and moments that I felt the tension of over-committing as a volunteer in church. But over the last few years, I have learnt a few principles that have helped me in dealing with ‘balancing’ ministry and marketplace.
1. WE MUST HAVE AN ETERNAL VISION OF JESUS
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
We have an eternal hope in Jesus, and this reliance on Christ gives me the hope and courage for the present. In 1 Timothy 1:1, Paul encourages us that we have a common hope in Christ Jesus. Through Christ, we know that our sins have been forgiven (Romans 3:24), that we are now reconciled to God (John 14:6), that we have hope for our daily necessities (Matthew 6:33) and that we have a hope for the future (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Having an eternal vision puts everything that I am going through in life right now into a Godly perspective, and as the famous hymn goes, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”
2. WE MUST GROW OUR INTERNAL CAPACITY
In May 2014, I was going through a very bad patch in my life. I was juggling between running my own business, serving in my local church, serving in a para-church organization and preparing for my wedding. I was spiritually dry, emotionally spent, and physically drained. My internal capacity was not big enough for the external commitments that I piled on myself.
My inner man was terribly weak. My personal prayer-life was non-existent and I only read the Bible when I had to. There is a correlation between joy and spending time with God. As the psalmist beautifully pens, “In Your presence, there is fullness of joy.” (Psalms 16:11)
I knew that I had to build on my inner man. It starts from understanding who God is, and who I am in Him. The revelation that Jesus desires to be with me always (John 17:24) gave me the courage and impetus to pursue Him wholeheartedly.
One year on, I am still juggling between my career, serving in my local church, serving in a para-church organization, and spending time with my wife. Yet in the midst of all this, there is a sense of being renewed daily, and this comes from a place of where my daily bus rides to work become moments of devotion with God. I enjoy being the first one to office and spend time reading and meditating on the scriptures.
3. WE MUST KNOW OUR EXTERNAL CALL
I would read Paul’s letters and stay stuck on the first verse of each epistle. It would typically start off by Paul introducing himself as, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God.”
It would always get me thinking about what I am called for. It is a question that most young adults would ask, and I have learnt that it could be a lifelong journey to fully discover God’s calling for an individual life. Think Moses, Abraham and other great men in the Bible.
What has helped me is when I started asking myself these questions every now and then:
- What are some of the skills God has given me?
- What am I comfortable doing?
- What are things that I am passionate about?
- What makes my heart comes alive?
- What are some of the values that I have in my life?
- What do I spend most of my free time thinking about?
Inevitably, these questions have shaped what I do both in my career and how I serve the local church. I understand also, that my external calling could change over different seasons in my life; but I know, that as long as I keep my eternal perspective focused on Christ, that I keep committed toward building my inner man, that God will guide me towards my external calling for His glory.