Letters

Dear Minister, Ministry is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

A large part of my formative years was spent in a relatively large compound in Oke-Itunu, Ibadan, with alot of growing kids. We were about the same age, and one of the things we loved to do was to run. I wasn’t an excellent sprint guy, but I really loved the long haul. I loved it when we ran around the house 10 times. For me, that was the deal. Such races were not about the start, but about finishing. Many of them started out strong, but after circling about 5 times, they would relent; some gave up, for they were out of energy. Ministry, like life, is like a race but dear it is not a sprint; it is a marathon. It is for those who are there for the long haul. Paul knew what it means to last long in a race, in his letter to his protégé, Timothy, himself a young minister he said in 2 Timothy 1:15, “YOU ARE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT ALL WHO ARE IN ASIA TURNED AWAY FROM ME, AMONG WHOM ARE PHYGELUS AND HERMOGENES.” All in Asia started but they didn’t last long, he had to make specific mention of Phygellus and Hermogenes – men who had promise but turned back.

I have seen a lot of promising people in ministry, men with loads of gifts, talents, charisma and full of the Spirit. But unfortunately, many have left the work of the ministry, some have even left the faith. Why? Because they were disappointed. Disappointed that things didn’t happen the way they envisaged; disappointed that things didn’t happen for them as fast as they expected. Disappointed that God didn’t make their programme and outreach a big success – a talk of the town (wink); tired of discipling few people, tired of being at the same spot; and the most dangerous – tired that things are not happening for them as fast as it is in the life of Pastor J and Pastor E.

Relax, God is not in a hurry! Our timings are different. Because He made it happen for someone at a particular time doesn’t mean it is your time. Don’t outrun God. Stay where you are and be contented with what you have. Many times, we fail because we are in a rat race with those, we call peers – in reality there are only friends in ministry, no mates, in the way you have course mates in the University – our syllabuses are different, our races are different and our graces also differ. It is therefore folly to put yourself under pressure. Just stay in the race, keep covering your syllabus, the more you improve, the more God can commit into your hands – that is what happens with great men in ministry. He found them faithful!

Unlike what many people think, men mightily used of God are not lightning in the blue-sky men; they are men who have learnt the culture of staying with God, learning with Him, working with Him and learning His ways. They didn’t just happen – they had their time of obscurity, the time when no one knew them but God. But today, they are in the eyes of the world, it seems they just started and immediately they shot out. No! they have tilled the ground, yes, they have watered the ground. They have laboured for years in the word and in prayer. They have paid their dues.Don’t be fooled by the news media. Success is not easy to come by, success is not ubiquitous. It takes more than prayer and the call of God. It takes experience and years of maturity for God to trust you enough to bestow His pearls upon you. For God to trust you with men, He must have tried your heart.

David went through his trials, Bible scholars says he was about 8 – 15 years when he was commissioned King by the Prophet Samuel, but he was anointed as King at the age of 30. Those waiting periods were the times of learning, pruning and growing. Don’t be in a rush to start ‘SOMETHING’, don’t be in a rush to enter the throne. Don’t start the vision ahead of God. Don’t go where God is not leading. Don’t lobby for placement. Don’t scheme your way to success. Don’t commission a crusade that God hasn’t commissioned. Don’t start an outreach then inform God about it. Don’t do things so that people can know you are called and anointed. It is dangerous! I have seen many people fizzle out in ministry, I have read of those who came and left like shooting stars. Register for the long haul. Commit to faithfulness to God, and let God have His way with you and through you.

Ministry is not a 2 years project, no it is not a 40 years project, it is an eternity project. There is no need for hurry – like I told a young man, ‘STOP LIVING YOUR LIFE LIKE YOU WILL DIE TOMORROW, YOU WILL YET DO WHAT GOD HAS COMMISSIONED YOU FOR, YOU CANNOT OUTRUN GOD, AND YOU CAN’T PRAY GOD’S TIME MOVE FASTER. RELAX, STAY IN LINE AND HE WILL DO WHAT HE WILL DO’. Grace to you!

Your Greatness is Assured

Fisayo Adeniyi

#PFA

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