I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have times when I look at the calendar and say, ‘What on earth was I thinking?’ I had one of those moments at the start of April. At the start of the month I looked at the calendar and realised it was jam-packed with activity after activity. I can’t blame anybody else, I placed most of the things in there. Don’t get me wrong, I love been active, but there are times when you know you have bitten off more than you can chew.
The last two weeks of Easter were particularly intense. Firstly, we had the Easter weekend. On the Friday we had organised an “Amazing Grace’ flash mob with the other churches working in the area. It was a great experience but took a lot of preparation and we were all a little nervous as none of us had done it before. Of course, Easter Sunday was also special.
The following week was filled preparing for a Family Fun day that we had organised for the Sunday. The preparation for that was intensive. It was a great experience and a celebration of the fact that God had brought us together as a family. We had guests, our friends Paul and Sara Jukes from Breathe church, ministering, and we had a wonderful time. However, we were ready for a rest when it finished. Unfortunately, that was not going to be possible.
The final week of April was more intense than ever. We normally try to keep Mondays as a rest day, but it wasn’t possible as we had a full day’s course to travel to and attend. On the Tuesday we then picked up our guests as we had a mission week ahead of us. We had four extra people staying with us and were traveling around doing an intensive mission week. It was a great week, but exhausting at the same time. On the Saturday I then took some of our men from church to a men’s conference. It was a great conference, but, by now, we had been working very long days every day for three weeks and I was totally exhausted. I still wasn’t fully prepared for the Sunday and just wanted to get home to rest.
At the end of the conference the organiser, Martin, asked if I could help to pray for people at the end. I said that I would, but was hoping that there would be enough people without me. I felt, physically, spiritually and emotionally, completely empty. I didn’t think that I had anything in me to give. A number of men went forward needing to be ministered to but I thought that there were enough people praying without me. However, at this point, I felt that I had a ‘Word of Knowledge’ to give. I didn’t want to give it as I knew it would result in having to pray for a number of people and was feeling completely dead on my feet.
The prompting of the Holy Spirit was too strong to ignore. Eventually, I went to the front and asked if I could share what I had received. A number of men responded and came forward for prayer. I said to God, ‘Lord, I am just going to say a quick prayer for each and move on, there is nothing more left in me.’ As I walked up to the first guy I could see that he had tears in his eyes. Suddenly feeling compassion rising inside, instead of quickly praying , I asked him to tell me his story. He shared with me that his Father had died a couple of days before and he hadn’t managed to get to the hospital. What I had shared had ministered to him. That quick prayer turned into many minutes of ministry as God gave me many more things to share. As I then moved on and prayed for each man, instead of feeling emptier, I felt more and more empowered to give. I had a wonderful time ministering to these men and bringing words of encouragement. If I had listened to how I felt then I could have missed all of this.
The reason I am sharing this is because we often think that our success has too much to do with us. The longer I have been a Christian the more I have realised that it is everything to do with Him. Often, when we are feeling empty and have nothing to give, God can use us most effectively. I am not advocating that we should wear ourselves out so that we can be used by him. I believe in rest and feel that to stack the calendar as much as I did was just stupid. I am saying that we must realise that our ability to serve is not reliant on how good we feel about our own state of spirituality. It simply relies on us being obedient to him. It is not about us, it is about him.
Paul the apostle knew this only too well. In his letter to the Corinthians he recalls what God revealed to him when he was feeling particularly weak.:
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ 1 Corinthians 12:9
We have a choice. We can wait until circumstances are all great before we serve, or we can choose to be obedient with whatever we have. This weekend I preached on the feeding of the five thousand. A bunch of exhausted disciples, with nothing more than a kid’s lunch box, gave what little they had to God and ended up being a part of a miracle so incredible that every gospel writer feels it is too important not to include.
When you are feeling low, guilty, tired or weak, just remember, it is not about you. It is about Him.