A pastor told a story of a young couple that approached him after church. The couple explained how they were new to the church, enjoyed their involvement so far, and wanted to invite the pastor and his wife over to their home.

The church was fairly large. Pleasantly, but bluntly, the pastor said to the young couple, “That will probably never happen.” He briefly helped the couple assess what they were looking for in a church and clarified what they could expect at this church. Double dates with the pastor and his wife was not one of the things they should expect.

When I first heard this pastor say this almost ten years ago, I thought it was smug and marked him off as lacking a pastor’s heart—whatever that is. I’ve since come to admire him for it. I think I now know how he could make such a remark. He knew what God had called him to—and meeting the emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual needs of everyone in the church, wasn’t what God had called him to.

When stated like that (meeting every need of everyone), we usually bristle at the notion that is what God has called us to. “I don’t assume God expects me to meet every need,” we counter. Why is it so hard for us to tell people “no” then? Could it be that obedience to God involves not meeting a need, even one we are capable and suited to meet?

A need does not constitute a ministry unless God has called you to it. The real issue is we don’t have a clear sense of what God has called us to. When a person has not determined what God has called them to, all the devil has to do to derail that person is send somebody with a legitimate need.

I think Jesus is our example here. At times he would move on when ministry really seemed to be humming (Mark 1:38). Other times he pulled away because he sensed his disciples needed some down time (Mark 4:36). The faucet of need wasn’t turned off to allow Jesus to make those decisions. He knew what God had called him to and he always said “yes” to that.

What needs do you need to say no to so you can say yes to what God has called you to?

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015