The Secret Ingredient to Effective Ministry
It wasn’t until God called me to pause my medical career and serve orphans full-time that by His Grace, I really learned the need for complete surrender and respect for spiritual authority. He was clear with me, “You cannot grow and serve me unless you surrender.” His requirement was for me to get myself with all honesty to the point where I was truly willing to quit Shaping Destiny(SD), the ministry I had founded and loved to go serve under someone else (in a small unknown ministry) for as long as he wanted. This was happening to me when I had given up my medical career and didn’t know when I would return.
I was frustrated, angry, and confused. I had made the biggest sacrifice that I could ever make and it looked like God was asking more and more of me. I didn’t have a salary. I was basically living on charity and my wife’s income, something that I hated. God used that to teach me humility. It was only when I went through my anger, and frustration and finally surrendered to God and totally and honestly told him, “Lord, I surrender to you, I’m willing to do whatever you want, to serve wherever you want me to, to leave SD and hand it to someone else, to close it and go wherever you want me, even if no one ever notices me or the sacrifice I make.”
Immediately I got to that point, I felt God tell me something similar to what he told Abraham when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac. He said to Abraham, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12. SD and the kids there was the only thing I had left to hold on to after I had resigned from my medical career. It was my Isaac. It had become my idol. When I finally said “I give it up” to do whatever God told me and God knew I meant it from my heart, he told me clearly that he didn’t want me to give up SD. In fact, he said he will bless SD and let me be a part of it till the end. Then He later followed by showing me a huge vision of what he was going to do for orphans all over the world–not only through SD but through other organizations as well.
Since that time, I have learned that we must surrender it all. We cannot serve God when we haven’t surrendered it all.
Dr. R. A. Torrey said something about the importance of surrendering one’s will to God that is important to bring up here. He was referring to hearing God by reading the Bible but it also applies to serving God in general. He said, “A surrendered will gives that clearness of spiritual vision necessary to understand God’s Word. Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise simply because the will of the student is not surrendered to the will of the author of the Book. It is remarkable how clear, simple, and beautiful passages that once puzzled us become when we are brought to that place where we say to God, ‘I surrender my will unconditionally to Yours. I have no will but Yours. Teach me Your will. A surrendered will does more to make the Bible an open book than a university education. It is simply impossible to get the largest profit out of your Bible study until you surrender your will to God. You must be very definite about this. Many will say, ‘Oh, yes, my will is surrendered to God,’ but it is not. They have never gone alone with God and said intelligently and definitely to Him, ‘O God, I here and now give myself up to You, for you to command me, lead me, shape me, send me, and do with me absolutely as you will.’ Such act is a wonderful key to unlock the treasure house of God’s Word. The Bible becomes a new Book when a man surrenders to God. Doing that brought a complete transformation in my own theology, life, and ministry” I can honestly say with Dr. Torrey, that my Christian walk was transformed when I did the same thing. If anything comes before us and God, even our ‘godly’ ambitions, it becomes an idol. The first commandment says, “You shall have no other Gods beside me”. The second is you shall not make or worship idols.
What have you learned about surrender? Please share below.