By Raly Ewemie
Many times - we are taught as missionaries, ministers on the Mission field on pouring out our all on the field. We are taught to give and the principles of engaging with our community.
There are lots of lectures, resources on engaging with your community or on the mission field. Engage! Engage!! Engage!!! the scripture emphasize on it thus: “ Go yea into the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father…
So much emphasis is given to the last command of Jesus, but many times - we fail to see how Jesus lived with this mission in mind. We fail to also make emphasis to missionaries and leaders; the great importance of disengaging.
Many don’t even believe in such.
“ My Pastor once met with a guy who - though knew he needed some rest and to pull away for a while from the mission field, but his excuse was: “ Who will take my place? His concern was “the mission work will not go as well as I desire; there are lots of needs to be met. “
It’s glaring that we have forgotten scriptures like: Mark 6: 30-31. “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.”
Also Luke 5 :15-16 “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”
Many ministers give on empty and keep running on empty till they crash. The crash comes in form of stress, burn out, failing away from faith, diverting away from God’s original plan and picking up man made mission plan, seeking to please men than God, being ‘God’ over congregation or followers etc.
I had on several occasions sat with some ministers/missionaries with a desire to know what God is doing in their lives. Their response to me is: Most of the time, it’s about what God is doing through them rather than what God is doing in them.
Oh there is a great difference between what God is doing through you and what God is doing in you. When I do ask the question once again, most of the time, they stammer with their words or just remain silent. Why is this so? Because we have placed so much importance, value and acceptance on what we do than what we are becoming.
Somewhere in my journey as a missionary, I have found myself in this shoes also. I have found what I do more important than what I am becoming.
Sometimes, I find myself studying God’s word in order to get a message to teach or preach rather than seeking to have a personal experience with God through His word and allow that word to transform me. I have found myself at one point where I was running on ‘empty tank’, and many around me did feel I was doing so great in the Lord and were blessed by my ministrations and service but little did they know I was giving out of empty or rather I was living on the old wine.
I was not growing in my intimate relationship with the Lord; I was not being transformed on the inside, my time alone with God was dragging and it was more of religion than an intimate relationship.
Oh it got to a point where my soul began to cry out and my body responded. I found myself, shedding tears for no outward reason. My soul was so overwhelmed, weak and crying out to be ministered to.
I called a fellow missionary friend and said “I am dying”. He was so worried and felt I had an illness, but I told him it was my soul dying and I knew if a drastic decision was not taking to attend to my soul, I knew I will either fall away from faith or I will pass away, and hopefully have the chance to ask God for forgiveness before I live the world.
I did understand how many ministers who everyone thought was doing great - all of a sudden - are involved in a scandal or drop dead.
So many ministers, missionaries, leaders are struggling and their struggles are invisible, hidden from the eyes of their congregation. We are good or rather skillful at performing our assignment on the mission field, churches, careers, home, among friends, as if nothing is wrong despite what’s going on inside. We carry wounds, hurts of the past or present, that we get so prideful to seek help. We have the fear of what others might think of us. We are fearful of people thinking less of us.
We allow the enemy to tell us to be silent and ignore what is going on the inside and when we do, it will all go away- lies. We might have being betrayed before and hence we hear those voices saying build up the walls and let no one in. We build the walls so high, so wide, that we unknowing or knowing shut God out also. It hurts to be betrayed but we will never heal if we don’t allow God to step in.
It is high time the church is educated; it is high time Missionaries and Ministers are strongly aware of the need, or rhythm of engaging and also disengaging in ministry. The need to pull away and care for our own souls. The need to place a high priority on who we are becoming in Christ also. The need to seek help and keep seeking God until we find help.
I have discovered from experience that the most powerful and effective life-transforming message is one that has already transformed the messenger.
Peter gave this great message to leaders, ministers, missionaries in the book of 2 Peter 2: 1-11
“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these, you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith - virtue, to virtue - knowledge, to knowledge - self-control, to self-control - perseverance, to perseverance - godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things - you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As ministers, we are encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit do His work within us, adding to our faith, virtue, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love in an increasing measure.
Give room to the work within you and not just the work through you.
Jesus said: “I do only what I see my Father do.” It is in the place of stillness and intimacy with the Father Jesus got directions and was filled enough to pour out. Busyness robs us of fulfillment and coming alive. Many take pride in being busy than being whole. Lord have mercy.
Lord we wait; we are not in a hurry. We ask for your forgiveness for taking pride in being busy and giving less or no attention to being whole. We ask You forgive us from finding joy and fulfillment in what you do through us rather than having joy in both what you do in us and through us.
We ask for your forgiveness. Lord we long to see Your face and being held in Your embrace. We want to know You intimately. We take joy in waiting, pulling away and being alone with You. For we do know in stillness and quite there our strength is. We need You Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.
Raly Ewemie is a devoted Missionary - with over a decade work experience in different countries across the globe. She’s the brain behind www.reflectinghisbeauty.org, a website that enriches people with Godly values and supports Missionaries in their work for God. She’s based in Abbotsford BC, Canada.