Monday, June 27, 2011

Gift Manipulation

Today's Meditation: "For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone of you: Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance to the faith God has given you..." Romans 12:3

After a very busy, fruitful, and fulfiling past few months of ministry, special events/outreach to the community, and travel, I am feeling a holy tug in my consciousness to simply be still, assess, and reflect. As I ponder all that my eyes have seen, all that my mind has absorbed, and all that my ears have heard, my heart now speaks to me on behalf of the Father: Are you remaining obedient to that which I have assigned and called YOU to do? Are the dreams and visions you have spoken over and prophesied to My people those which come from Me, or those which come from your fleshly intuition? Are you still passionate about My Word, or arrogantly passive concerning its power? Has your anointing been compromised by the self-manipulation of the gift that I gave you? With Whom are you dancing, and for Whom are you dancing when you "minister" to My people? Has the applause and accolades of man stifled your ability to hear My instruction?

These and many other thoughts have come to be valuable and necessary check points that I believe must be evaluated from time to time by anyone and everyone who serves in a ministry capacity. From Apostles to Bishops; Elders to Pastors; Clergy to Laity; Missionaries to Worship Leaders; Musicians to Psalmists...our approach to Kingdom ministry shouldn't become so externally driven that we develop a "keeping up with the kardashians" mentality. Nor should it be so internally centered on the greatness that lays within us, so that the achievements and successes of others cease to phase us even a little bit. My concern for myself, and largely for the Body of Christ, is that the "wonderment" of God is being replaced by "been there, done that", thus our egos have hindered us from encountering the miracles, signs, and glorious wonders that lay right at our feet! However, I must concede that whatever shift or shake-up that may need to occur, I can only be a catalyst for the revolution that begins inside of me.

For those of us in the ministry of the Word, as well as the Sacred Arts, we must admit that often times we have attempted (and succeeded) in manipulating the atmosphere of worship to be steered in the direction that our carnal minds and bodies desire it to go in--not always that which the Holy Spirit has prompted. From the preacher who begins to "whoop", not out of style, cultural tradition, nor the anointing--but rather, lack of material, preparation, and need of an emotional response from his/her audience; Manipulation...Or the musician/organist/keyboard player who decides that the sermon has gone on long enough--time to strike that "rap it up preacher" chord so that he/she may make it to Sunday Brunch before 2pm; Manipulation...and lastly of course, the Liturgical Dance Minister who even after 15 years in ministry still can't seem to make it through an entire piece without the claim that "the Holy Ghost just took over" and proceed to weep, wail, and gnash their teeth...Really? Still? How about your responsibility to completely deliver the prophetic movement message in its entirety to a people who needed a Word (through dance) from the Lord?

Healthy self-esteem is wonderful; let us who are servants of God not go over board! The key to an honest, accurate, assessment of who we are is knowing the basis of our self-worth: that is, our identity as a child of the Most High God. Apart from Him, if we allow ourselves to be judged by worldly standards we may have a measure of earthly success; the danger comes when we begin to think of our worth in the eyes of others, thus missing our true value in God. You and I are more than our gift, our talent, and our skill! Besides, none of that will matter when we are standing before Him on Judgement Day after living a life void of integrity and eternally bankrupt.

Open our eyes, oh God. Amen and Selah.
---Rev. Stephanie