I once wrote an article on a blog that no longer exists, and I titled the article something like "Our Perspective, God's Perspective, and Synchronicity." The article pointed out that, from our perspective, the universe really does revolve around us. Everything is seen from our own eyes and is filtered through our own thought process. The article then pointed out how we must remember that the universe doesn't only revolve around us from our perspective, but it also revolves around others from their perspective. Finally, the article explained how God somehow understands each of us and deals with us all individually as well as collectively. Of course I can't explain how He does it...He just does!
We can't do what God does, but I believe there are a few things we must take from this that will help us in the ministry:
1. Remember your experiences in life are different than those of the ones to which you are ministering.
When I try to teach a teenager that has grown up with no father (or multiple "fathers") or maybe an abusive parent, I honestly can't fathom what they have had to deal with. Their view of God "the Father" is totally effected by their view of their earthy male role models. All I can do is be sensitive, and try not to expect them to view things the same way that I do. If I use myself as an example, I have to be careful how I relate that to them.
2. Remember that your views have changed over time
On some issues, others may come to the same conclusion you have come to about those issues, but you can't expect them to arrive at those conclusions immediately--you probably didn't either. I heard one preacher who was against the celebration of Christmas (at least the typical celebration) criticize some of his church members for being judgmental of others who don't share their views on the celebration of Christmas. He said that a couple years ago some of them didn't have a problem with it, and now they suddenly condemn anybody who does. We need to give people time to grow and to form some of their own opinions based on the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit in them. Preach the truth, yes! But we need to try not to get so offended when others have yet to reach the same conclusions we have.
3. Remember that God may be leading others in a totally different direction than He is leading you.
This is a hard concept to grasp. We tend to think that if God leads us in one direction or another, since it is right for us, it must be the right direction for everyone else. There are certainly some areas in which God wants us all to arrive at the very same conclusion (Jesus is Lord, the Bible is our final authority...), but there are other areas where that just isn't the case. There are some styles and customs other churches have adopted that I don't particularly care for. It is easy to criticize how they are doing things, and I can try to find some verses in the Bible to point out how my way of doing things is better; but the truth is that I can't speak for those churches. I honestly don't know where God is leading them or what His plans are for them in the future.
About all we can do is to keep watching the sun rise, even though it may be setting for others; all the while it isn't rising or setting on any of us, but rather we are all rotating around it. We can keep doing our own work with our own hands, and as opportunity rises, we can assist others around us in their work too. But their work is theirs and ours is ours, and all of it should be done for the Lord and not ourselves.
Thanks for reading. May your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
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