Unhealthy Relationships in Ministry (Part 4): Hagar’s Lesson

 Hagar’s Lesson:  You will never experience rich blessings and lasting fulfillment in life and ministry by feeding off of someone else’s calling and destiny.

You’ll never have deep spiritual fulfillment in your own life by trying to gain your sense of significance by identifying with “successful” people. (Regardless of what today’s  “success gurus” teach all across the television and internet,)  Neither will seeking to feed off of folks with more obvious resources accomplish true success.  Beware!  Some of those who appear famous and powerful are really just luring you into a pyramid scheme!  Hagar was ripe for it.  So are thousands of Christians today!

She was an unfulfilled person.  She was a slave out of Egypt.  All of the sudden she got what she thought was the break of a lifetime.  She got an invitation to join a soon-to-be worldwide ministry!  And a very prosperous ministry/family at that! Hagar, likely a woman with a lot of unmet needs and frustrations probably thought her problems had vanished. She must have had an immediate explosion of hope.  She was chosen to sleep with Abraham.  She quickly conceived a child and her entire life experienced a total makeover!  Or so she may have thought.  But it never works that way for long.

You will only end up feeling used when you seek to validate yourself by people needing you.  At first, it seems awesome to be “used” by God (or at least that’s what the Sarahs told you was going on).  Then, you find out you’re all used up!  “They really need me.”  “He can’t make it without me.  I know he’s not the best choice of a husband, but he needs me.  He really needs me.”  “If I left the church the music ministry would just fold up.”

Well, it feels good to be needed, especially when you have an unfulfilled spirit.  It especially feels good when you’ve been searching everywhere for meaning and purpose and you don’t really know how much God values you.  You don’t know God’s thoughts toward you.  You’re afraid He’s disappointed in your track record and is frustrated with you because He’s been expecting a much better performance out of you.  At that point, for someone to need you is a nice, quick fix.  But, the honeymoon is over fast!  This is Hagar’s lesson.  If she could find someone who needed her then she could tell people, “Oh yeah. I’ve got a ministry!”  “You bet I have a husband.”

Yep, Hagar, you seem to have it really going now.  But it gets costly real fast because that’s not how God wants to bring you into His destiny for your life.

Here’s a quote out of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest for March 4th.

Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God because practical work is based on this argument — Remember how useful you are here, or — Think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.  That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the Guide as to where we should go, but our judgment as to where we are of most use.  Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His.

 This is exactly why many pastors look for a bigger church and have a zeal for a “bigger” ministry.  They think they could be of more “use” in a bigger church.  But like Oswald Chambers said, it is not really about being of use; it’s about walking in a love relationship with the Lord.  Because if you get to a bigger church, you’ll find out after awhile that bigger problems come with bigger churches.  Then you’re right back where you started: feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

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