BY MARGARET ELLIS
Reader, maybe what I am going through is what some would call ‘mid-life crises’ but I call it revelation knowledge from the Holy Spirit. I have been seeking God’s direction (purpose) for my life and his response has been overwhelming. I cannot help myself, I have embraced the mandate to “live a purpose driven life”. Maybe you are one of the people who strongly believe that there is a seat (purpose) for everyone in the world (God’s empire and kingdom). If so, I am completely in agreement with you. I believe that we are created in God’s image and he packaged each and every one of us with every ingredient we need to meet the needs of his people in his kingdom. We are called to fulfill our responsibility in our society, community, nation, our families, our relationships and any entity which exists for the sole purpose of spreading the name of God and his gospel namely: Ministry, Church (the house of God)”.
God knows the purpose he wants us to serve in the world however; he waits on us to make a decision to live that purpose. Our seat in the corporate arena, business world, ministry, and society as a whole is polished and positioned waiting for us to occupy it. Now that we have made it clear that everyone has a position to serve in the Kingdom or house of God, let’s address five basic principles for occupying the seat:
1. Every seat has a price tag – In the book of Luke 9:57-62, the bible says that Jesus taught about the cost of serving him. A man approached him and made a request to follow him. Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another man told Jesus that he wanted to follow him but first needed to take care of his obligation to bury his dead father. Jesus had a shocking response for him; “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another man made a commitment to follow him but wanted to first bid his family farewell. Jesus gave yet another unprecedented response: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (NIV). What Jesus was teaching simply is that occupying your seat can be very costly. It may require a shift in perception and belief systems, values etc. Some things such as: mindset, personal obligations, cultural doctrine, and focusing on self will have to be left behind. Once you step into your seat, your focus will no longer be what you prioritize as important but what is important to the Lord.
2. The seat requires sacrifice – Again, Jesus had a conversation with another person who asked him a question about inheriting eternal life. When Jesus told him about the Ten Commandments, he replied “I know them and have kept them since I was a little boy…… “You still lack one thing (Jesus said). Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Jesus’ response must have devastated the man because he became sad. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Luke 18:22-23 (NIV). Now reader, I don’t want you to take a sigh of relief and try to convince yourself that this scripture is not applicable to you. Do not tell me you are not rich so this is irrelevant. Wealth here can be symbolic of everything we hold dear and precious. What Jesus was saying to this man is simply; lay it all down. In verse 24, Jesus said “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”. This statement simply means that if we are adorned with all the things that only pleases the flesh namely: pride, status, praise, and selfishness etc, we become too fat and too big to fit in our kingdom seat.
3. Selflessness - A good example of this characteristic is Solomon. In 2 Chronicles 1:6-10, the scriptures talks about an encounter that Solomon had with God. He had offered sacrifice which moved God to appear to him that night. When God asked him what he wanted, his response touched the heart of God. Solomon did not ask for riches, his enemy’s life or nothing for himself. Instead, he asked for wisdom to rule the people of God with diligence. Because of his unselfish heart, God gave him everything he did not ask for. Solomon was blessed by God tremendously not only because he offered sacrifice but because he was willing to put the needs of others in the kingdom above his needs. God’s response to Solomon is a reminder to us that he (God) delights in those who understand that he raises them for the sole purpose of meeting needs through service and being a blessing to others.
4. Investment in the lives of others – This is seen in Matthew 25:14-28 – The Parable of the Talents. Jesus shared the parable about a master who gave talents of gold to three servants to manage for him while he traveled. When the master came back to take inventory of the talents, he found out that the servant who received one talent had buried it so it didn’t yield any profit. The other two servants who received two and five talents both invested and brought profit. The master was happy with the ones who invested and he told them in verse 23 “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! To the servant who had buried what was given to him, the master commanded in verse 28: “So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more and they will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them……”. The message Jesus intended to share with his audience was very clear; what we do with the talents and gifts God has given to us will determine the size of our seat in his kingdom. In verse 27, the master confronted the servant for his failure to invest in order to yield interest. What I learned from this challenges me to sow my gifts and talents in the lives of others because it is in giving, that one will receive.
5. Walking in humility – A good model of humility is Jesus who was very intentional in his actions. In John 13, Jesus washed his apostle’s feet. Jesus was a leader who delighted in ‘walking the talk’ instead of giving orders. When he was done washing their feet, he challenged the Apostles to continue the legacy. In verse 13-15, Jesus said to them: “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow”. Another example of humility was revealed when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” John 18:37 (NIV). Jesus understood that he was not representing himself. He knew his assignment and accepted his position with humility. He understood that his purpose on this earth was bigger than his self-image or reputation. Thus occupying your kingdom seat requires willingness to give up worldly identity and status. Our assignment may require that we eat with Zacchaeus(unbelievers, sinners, those who have fallen, those who are different etc) because we are called to bring the gospel of truth to them so they can turn from their canal ways.
Reader, God has called us on purpose and he needs our brokenness and weaknesses to 'set an example' in the world. The Apostle Paul made this clear to us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong". (NLT). He boasts in his weakness not because he enjoys being in that state but because he understood that in was in those moments of weakness that he experienced the strength of Christ. There is something about our brokenness that gets God attention and we can see this in another character in scripture - David. When he sinned against God, he knew that offering sacrifice was not his pass to obtaining mercy from God but rather his brokenness before his creator. He said in Psalms 51:16-17 "You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God". (NLT). David’s willingness to take responsibility for his actions instead of choosing to justify his sin moved the hand of God to extend mercy to him.
Today, I want to challenge you seek God for direction. You may already be giving your time and talents to build the kingdom of God, you may already be walking in your calling and purpose but I still urge you to go back to God and ask him to show you whether you are occupying the seat he has prepared for you. I am encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone and make a decision to move with God in the present and future not just in the past. God may have revealed to you your purpose in months or years past but can you hear what he is saying to you presently? Be mindful about focusing so much on the past because it can lead you to miss out on what God is saying to you in the here and now.
God is a living God, always moving, not stagnant. God speaks to his children in the past, present and future. God spoke your purpose from creation but he uses different routes to bring his spoken word to pass. The journey to a purposeful life has stop signs, detours, yellow lights straights highways and exits. God’s spoken word over your life is to get to a destination but you always need to communicate with him to speak direction over the journey as you go through the different paths. Challenges come with occupying your seat but be encouraged by Jesus’s example. He accepted ridicule, accusation, betrayal, and pain in meeknessso he could occupy his seat at the right hand of the father. Occupying our seat in the kingdom of God would require us to walk in humility and brokenness because God wants us in that place of vulnerability so he can use it to take us to a place of greatness in his glory.
Margaret Ellis is the author of the cookbook “West African Perspective”. She is a Gambian native, speaker, marriage coach and blogger who enjoys sharing her rich heritage with the world through her writing, speaking, ministration, teaching and relationships just to name a few. Margaret can be described in many ways however; she is known to many as being passionate, driven, nurturing and a mentor who always seek opportunities to learn and share her knowledge with others. She is constantly motivated by an empowering statement she once heard which stated: “..God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you're a person of influence and a person of purpose, you can rise up out of any situation”.