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God has a plan for each and every one of us, He has not left anyone out. But, there are different roles that we play in His plan. We don't all do the same thing, He has different jobs for each of us. I have no idea what criteria God uses to decide who gets which roles, but I suspect He knows what He is doing. He gives each of us exactly the role we have been created for. We are of equal value and importance in His plan, but we may not be given equivalent-sounding tasks to do.
In our human thinking, we sometimes feel a person's value is directly related to the tasks God has given him to do. In other words, those who have been given "leadership roles" in the Body of Christ are perceived as "more important" than others. That is not the case at all, but it can feel like that to us because we tend to look at things from our human and carnal orientation.
For example, let's look at Fred and Jim. Fred is the pastor of a large church. He influences the lives of the 500 members of his congregation on a weekly basis. He is a good teacher and everyone in the congregation comes to him for godly advice and counsel. Fred has a lot of influence and he uses it to help mature the saints he oversees. He is a good pastor and he ministers to the needs of his congregation. He has helped many believers mature in the faith. Fred's church is an evangelical church, and they usually have one to two decisions for Christ a week, as friends and relatives and local members of the community visit the Sunday morning service.
Jim, on the other hand, is a traveling salesman. He is on the road as much as he is at home, constantly flying here and there, staying in hotels. Jim loves God with all of his heart and would love to teach Sunday school or be on the prayer team at church. But he's not able to contribute much ministry-wise in his local church because he travels so much in his job and misses a lot of Sunday services. Jim may seem insignificant in the Body of Christ; he's just a middle-class Christian businessman doing his best to serve the Lord as well as to perform his secular job well.
However, Jim has the gift of evangelism, and the Lord always seems to work it out so that on the plane, he ends up sitting next to some unsaved person who is hungry to know the Lord. And Jim always seems to run into that hurting waitress or hotel clerk who longs to be loved and who finds the gospel really is good news. On a "slow" week, Jim leads only two or three people to the Lord. On a good week, he gets to lead someone to the Lord every day. On the average, he leads about 250 people to the Lord a year.
Even though Jim's role (a traveling salesman) sounds less significant than pastoring a large church, Jim is of great value to the kingdom! You see, his value is not assigned by the role he was given, but by how he works with God in fulfilling that role. Jim's travels give him the opportunity to meet many people and share the good news with them. Jim would not have all of these "evangelism opportunities" if he were pastoring a church and spending most of his time training, equipping and ministering to believers. Jim needs to be out among the unsaved to be able to share the good news with them. So God gave Jim a secular job type of role that causes him to travel and be exposed to a lot of people in situations where it's natural to "strike up a conversation," such as sitting next to someone on a plane.
God loves each of us equally. His love is not dependent on what we do for Him. He loves us because He is love and because He is our Father. He doesn't love us more if we serve Him well and He doesn't love us less if we are not as good at serving Him as we would like to be. In other words, God's love for us is not dependent on how successfully we complete the God-ordained roles and tasks He has given to us. That part is pretty easy for most people to grasp.
But this part is a bit harder to grasp. The way we fulfill (or don't fulfill) our God-given roles is a factor in how much value we are in God's kingdom plans. The role itself does not determine how valuable we are to God's plan. What determines our value is how well we perform the role He has given us to do. No matter what our role is, we will be effective in it only as we're lead and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The job we are given to do doesn't determine our value. What determines our value in fulfilling God's kingdom plans is how we do whatever it is that He gives us to do. A pastor or international ministry leader can do a mediocre job if they have their own agenda that interferes with God's agenda. On the other hand, someone as insignificant as a traveling salesman can make a major impact for God's kingdom by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and empower him/her.
At first, Fred's role (pastor) might have sounded more important than Jim's (salesman). This is because we tend to think of an ordained minister as being more important than a Christian businessman. But as I began to describe what each man did, it became clear that both filled their roles well and both were significant in advancing God's kingdom and fulfilling God's plans. They were given vastly different roles to fill, but both were able to have a dramatic impact in advancing God's kingdom. The roles were different, but one was not more important than the other. Both roles were important in God's plans. And God had the right person in each role, but both were of great value to God's plans.
Pretty much all us want to be important in advancing His kingdom; we want to be given real kingdom work to do and real power and anointing and authority to do it in. Unfortunately, many of us have been taught to believe we have to have a leadership role to be important in God's plans. So we look to the five-fold office roles as the "most important." And we set our focus and our goals on them.
The simple truth is that most of the members of the Body of Christ will not be called into one of the five-fold offices (apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist). There are a lot more Christians than there are five-fold offices to fill. In any army, there are a lot more troops than there are officers, and there are a lot more officers than there are top officers or "generals." The same holds in the Body of Christ. God holds a lot more kingdom jobs to fill than just the five-fold office ones. That means most of us are not going to be called into the five-fold offices. God has other jobs for us to do. (Other does not mean inferior, it just means different.)
The key to "being successful" and in "feeling fulfilled" is to understand what job God has given you and learn to do it in His power and authority.
I did not always understand that principle. I was not sure what my calling was. I would observe differing callings around me and I would want to imitate the way those were ministering. There was one prophet who I got to know. He was used powerfully to minister to leaders. He helped them get their lives and motivations in order and to encourage them in the original call and vision that God has given each leader. It was rare for God to send him to minister to anyone who was not a leader. So I thought that is what I should do. I should be sent to leaders to strengthen and encourage them, etc. At that point, I did not understand my commission is to teach the Body of Christ to hear God's voice for themselves and to motivate them to commit to obey Him and walk out His Lordship in every area of their lives. I wanted to do what I saw this other person doing instead of understanding and embracing the call God put on my own life. But the two calls were quite different. He was sent to leaders; I am sent to the Body of Christ at large. I was very ineffective when I tried to do someone else's calling instead of my own. I started to become effective for God's kingdom only when I began to understand what He called me to do and I began to walk in it. Then I learned how to let God lead and guide and empower me in doing what He called me to do.
In summary, God has given you a job to do that He considers important for His kingdom. The nature of the job itself (the role you are given to do) is not what makes you important in His plans. As stated earlier, a pastor is not necessarily more important in God's plans than a traveling salesman. The thing that makes you important in God's plans is how well you do what He as given you to do. You can't be successful in your God-given job apart from His leading and empowerment. Jesus said (in John 15:5), "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." Also, you can't be successful in it if you don't understand what God has called you to do and you are off trying to do someone else's job instead of your own. So the key to success is to come to God, let Him define who you are and what you are called to do, and then go do with the Father what you see Him doing, in His power and anointing.
Our next lesson will look at some ways to better understand what role (or kingdom job) God has given to you.