Maybe, you are not ready for more.
Maybe, the answer to your many prayers and petitions is simply that you are not ready for God to bless you with more.
And, maybe, the reason you are not ready for more is because you have not learned to appreciate what God has already entrusted to you.
There are moments in life when we are waiting on God – waiting on our readiness to encounter opportunity. What about those other times…when opportunity is not the problem? What about those moments when opportunity arises, but we are unprepared?
My twenties were a lot of fun. I learned many valuable lessons over those ten years. One of the most important lessons dealt with my want for more…
I am a pastor. I was in my twenty-somethings when I received my first appointment. The bishop sent me to a community in a small, rural town. Shortly after moving into my position, our community was serving about 200 between two locations with a combined average worship of about 100.
Pastors are no different than most professionals – we watch the numbers closely. Even pastors who stress “quality over quantity” keep an informal log of worship attendance, small-groups, baptisms, new members, etc. Numbers do not determine the effectiveness of a ministry, but the numbers are hard to ignore. They represent something…and that something is intriguing.
Many young clergy, preachers, worship leaders, and church leaders are easily drawn to being the next influential person – the next Andy Stanley, David Crowder, Christine Caine, or whomever. It is the same ambition shared by other professionals with a dream, a calling, or a conviction.
“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” – John 14:12-14
I was no different. I felt called to serve the Church in the name of Jesus Christ to the glory of God. I thought I was ready for “greater works,” only I had not been given the opportunity. Rather, I had been sent to a small, rural town to serve a community of 200.
I am ashamed to admit, I prayed for more those first couple of years. I prayed for God to send me to a place with more people, more young adults, and the potential for more ministry. And, I thought I was justified. I thought my intentions were pure, because I wanted to serve to the glory of God. Or, so I thought…
I heard the pastor of a large church in my area of the world (Perry Noble) speaking at a conference (Catalyst) on this topic. He is not my favorite preacher nor do I agree with a lot of his interpretation of scripture. BUT…his insight on this topic changed my attitude (on more than just ministry).
Our prayer for more is a petition for additional responsibility. More church members, more worshipers, more small groups, more staff, more whatever is asking God to entrust you with more people to care for, more people to nurture, and more people to manage. Why would anyone want more responsibility? And, besides, who has the right to think they are worthy of more than what God has given to them?
I had to ask myself: Did I deserve more? Did I deserve additional responsibility? What did my want for more actually say about me, my hubris, and…my failure to appreciate the more God had already entrusted to me?
My want for more was a failure to appreciate. Arriving at this awareness changed my perception. The number 200 began to seem like a lot…well…more than I could handle! God entrusted the spiritual care of nearly 200 people to me. Acknowledging each of these 200 as an individual with unique needs overwhelmed me. I went from wanting more to fearing God had entrusted me with too much!
I soon discovered the little I failed to appreciated was actually more than I deserved; and, the more than I deserved was more than enough! *See Below*
Maybe you have been asking God for more – for more of a relationship, for more of a job, for more of a family, for more of a purpose, etc. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. Your want for more stems from a desire to live a full, meaningful, and purposeful life. But, do not let your want for more blind you from beholding the blessings in your midst.
Discovering more often begins with appreciating what God has already entrusted to us. God has blessed each of us in unique ways (even if you do not feel blessed). Acknowledging, accepting, and assuming responsibility for these blessings will (in my experience) reveal the more already entrusted to our care.
Maybe, you are not ready for more!
It is okay, because it allows you the opportunity to focus your attention and your appreciation on what has been entrusted to you. Acknowledge the blessings of God in the little given to you and (I believe) you will discover the more you have is enough.
Maybe, then, you will be ready when opportunity arises in the future — and you will be prepared to accept and appreciate the more God will entrust into your care.
*As a side note, I will write another reflection in the future about the more I discovered in God’s blessings through the wonderful relationships shared with the members of my faith community.*