by Allison Martin
Recently, the Martin household experienced a minor inconvenience, that a particular member of the family got a little dramatic about (I’m raising my hand here). Our microwave malfunctioned, and gave a valiant effort for about week before giving up the ghost completely. All the repair technicians in our area were completely booked up, which meant a few weeks without a microwave.
I had severely underestimated how much I relied on that lovely little appliance. During those weeks, I lost count of how many times I opened the microwave door, only to be met with darkness. Everything took so much longer than I wanted it to. Dinner consistently ran at least half an hour behind schedule. I mostly took the inconvenience in stride, until I went to reheat my morning coffee and realized that life as I had known it was over. (I told you I was being dramatic.)
Before you feel too sorry for us, we did survive. Dinner was still a non-negotiable for this family, as was my morning coffee. So I started doing things a little differently. I started preparing meals a little earlier, and got a lot more familiar with my stove. Our Crock-Pot was pulled out a lot more often than usual, and I went so far as to try a few new recipes in it. I even discovered that my coffee maker has a warmer that will eventually (in its own sweet time) reheat my coffee.
Throughout those few weeks, I missed the convenience of a quick fix. We live in a “microwave” society, where much of our lives have been simplified to the push of a button. We like it that way. Our society seems to be in a never ending race to get what we want, when we want it, faster than we got it yesterday. But my microwave preached to me a message that I needed to hear: If it matters to you, you’ll invest the extra time. If it’s truly a priority, you won’t wait for convenience. You’ll always find a way to do what really matters to you.
So what do microwaves and ministry have in common? Not much, except that they don’t always work the way that you wish they did. Sometimes, you’re left without a convenient option.
The reality is that our life’s most impactful ministries will rarely ever be convenient, easy, or accomplished in the time frame that we would choose. Your ministry may be in your home, church, workplace, or some combination of the three. But it will always will be developed with consistent, intentional time.
Building trust takes time. Personal growth and gaining practical experience is not an overnight process. There are no shortcuts to building relationships that will change the direction of someone’s future. Discipleship and friendship take place over not days, but years. Showing your kids what it really means to live for Christ takes a lifetime. Furthering your education or chasing a dream are big commitments. All of these may require more time and sacrifice than you originally planned for, and progress may not happen at the speed you hoped. But if your efforts will matter for eternity, then it’s worth investing the extra time.
Doing anything meaningful for God can feel a lot like standing at the base of a looming mountain: you know the view is breathtaking if you can get to the top, but you’re just not sure if you want to commit to the daily grind of the climb. In a moment of inspiration, we may catch God’s vision for what He could do through our life. But the magnitude of the work there is to do can be overwhelming. Our vision of the potential we once saw can so easily be clouded over by “if only’s”. If only I had those resources, or that kind of support. If I just had the right words or her personality. I wish I had more influence or more talent. I could get it done so much faster. I could accomplish so much more. When I have the right team, or enough time, I’ll tackle this.
I promise, I’m not minimizing your opposition or difficulties. This is not making light of your limitations. But it’s time we decide what’s important to us. Because if it’s important enough, we’ll find a way.
It’s time that we as moms, bus workers, Sunday school teachers and Christian women working in secular mission fields, decide what really matters. Because what really matters is worth investing some time into.
I know... All of God’s work is important, and none of us have enough hours to be involved in everything.
But what ministry has God burdened on your heart? Who has He placed in your path and under your influence? Where have you felt the tug of the Spirit, only to shrink back when you saw the size of the task? What was your vision before the reality hit that this would not be a quick process?
In Bible school, Bro. Taylor once asked our Homiletics class an odd question. He asked, “Students, how do you spell “love”?” There was silence in the classroom as we waited for his answer. He then turned to the whiteboard and wrote, “T-I-M-E”.
The longer I spend my life in ministry, the more I agree. Time follows love. We have nothing more precious to invest in the work of God than our time.
God’s got eternal work for you to do.
Chances are, it’s already right in front of you.
I don’t know what it is or what that looks like, but you probably do. Maybe you’ve faced some setbacks or are feeling the inconvenience of a situation you wouldn’t have chosen. Consider this post just a voice of encouragement in your corner, telling you to go for it. Whatever you feel God leading you to do or laying on your heart. I can’t tell you that it will be easy, or convenient. Only that it will be worth it.