The wisdom of a good leader is the wisdom of giving himself wholly to his task or vision. That is the wisdom that a serpent operates by. A serpent gives itself wholly to its vision and purpose. You should watch a snake using its whole body to kill its prey. A serpent is a slim long tube that moves sleekly on the ground, yet it is able to kill and swallow huge four-legged antelopes. It is a wonder to watch a python swallow a huge antelope together with its horns, hoofs and head. What an amazing creature that is able to overcome another animal ten times its size!
What kind of wisdom is this? What kind of wisdom does a serpent use? Pythons, anacondas and boa constrictors kill their prey by constricting their prey with the entire length of their body. The snake tightens its coils around the prey to suffocate it. Indeed, it uses its entire body to engulf its prey. Each time a captured animal takes a breath, the snake tightens its hold. The snake squeezes so tightly that its prey cannot breathe.
Jesus gave himself fully to the ministry and bore much fruit. Our Lord Jesus was a carpenter. At a point, He laid aside carpentry, and went fully into preaching, teaching and healing. What would have happened to us if He had continued to build a para-carpentry hybrid ministry? Where did we learn to develop these hybrid ministries? ‘Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…’ (Philippians 2:5). We can make a great difference when we give ourselves wholly to the cause we pursue.
Peter was a fisherman. But a time came when he had to stop fishing and follow the Lord. Peter gave himself fully to the ministry and bore much fruit. That was full time ministry. Peter said, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” ‘(Mark 10:28) You will notice that when he tried to go back to fishing he received no fruits until Jesus intervened. Peter toiled all night and caught no fish. Jesus appeared at the beach in the morning and asked if he had caught any fish. When he confirmed that he had not, Jesus showed him where to cast his net. The drought was so large that they had to call other boats to come for some of the fish. Jesus then told Peter specifically to “Feed my lambs.” He gave himself wholly to it and on the day of Pentecost, three thousand people were saved.
Paul gave himself fully to the ministry and bore much fruit. Paul was also a tent maker. But a time came when he gave himself wholly to the Lord and the benefits were seen by all. He considered every other thing, apart from the call of God, as pure rubbish. ‘More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ’ (Phil 3:8). Initially Paul persecuted the church. After his conversion, he gave himself wholly to the work of the ministry. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11: 24 – 27). It did not matter the things he suffered, he went all the way for the ministry. No wonder he had so much fruit!
Perhaps, if you were to give yourself wholly to ministry, you would become more anointed and help many more people. Perhaps if you were to give yourself wholly to the ministry, many more people would be saved. Your hybrid ministry is not yielding the results that it should. Paul did not encourage para-business ministry hybrids. He said you should give yourself wholly to the ministry and to the call of God.
Snakes give themselves wholly to the killing of their prey. What has God called you to do? Pastors should give themselves wholly to the ministry. Many people do not give themselves fully to the ministry. Give yourself totally to your God-given work. Do not be impressed by ministers of the gospel who proudly tell you about the business they do on the side. You must have a special calling to be involved in para-business hybrid ministries! The Bible tells us to give ourselves wholly to the ministry. If you give yourself wholly to the ministry, you will see a great difference in your life.
By Dag Heward-Mills