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The Manna principle

Does your ministry currently serve God, or does God serve your ministry?

How did God supply that most needed resource of all – food – to the children of Israel as they roamed around the desert? He supplied them with manna, white honey wafers, the first recorded recipe for breakfast cereal! They were to gather manna daily (apart from the day before the Sabbath, when they gathered for two days), but to gather just enough for their daily needs and not to store any for the next day.

However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. (Exodus 16:20)

Is this a divine principle? That God will supply our needs as and when we need them?

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

This has certainly been my experience and that of many mature Christian leaders I have spoken to. The Lord likes to keep us on our toes, it’s a reminder of our absolute reliance on Him, something that the World wants us to forget.

And there’s the rub. The World (or rather, the prince of this World, the devil – John 12:31) wants us to forget God; it is telling us that all we need for our lives is supplied by its systems, from the cradle to the grave. It is seductive, it is hard to resist, but it is not God’s way and, as Christians, we must always seek to remind ourselves who is Master of our lives.

We return to the original conversation at the head of this chapter, that of the transference of ministries, from fathers to sons. Bringing together all we have discussed I would first look at Rupert Murdoch’s motive in passing down control of News International to his sons and daughter.

He had built up his empire from scratch and wanted to leave it in safe hands with the only people who would be guaranteed loyal to him, his own children. They would be aware of Murdoch’s business objectives and would supposedly carry on in the same vein. There is also the question of legacy and looking after the next generation, an inbuilt instinct for all parents.

Now let’s consider a Christian ministry and realise that none of this should, in the first instance, hold true. Firstly, there should be not the slightest whiff of empire-building or of self-promotion. To profit personally from God’s vision in your life was not why He gave you this vision! Neither should it be a legacy for your children, because it is not yours to give! Of course, if God has truly planted the same vision in the minds of your children, then this is not an issue and we are on safe ground, but the proliferation of father/son handovers in the Christian world tends to speak otherwise.

But then I may be wrong on this and, if a ministry is run in a godly fashion and is achieving God’s objectives, then it needs to be sustained through to the next generation and, if the children are ordained by God to do so, then the handover is going to be relatively straightforward.

Then there’s another really difficult question to ask. It flows from the major symptom of how the Church has followed a Greek rather than a Hebraic path, particularly in recent years.

Does your ministry currently serve God, or does God serve your ministry?

Be honest as you really think hard about this. All ministries birthed by a vision will have set out to serve God, but what about now? Is God seen as a source to be tapped into, simply to give an edge over secular businesses, or is He the centre of everything? In this book we are going to meet a few that are following that first path and it’s not the correct one.

The point I’m trying to make is that everything we do as Christians, whether as individuals or as groups, should be to His glory, transparent and above reproach. The Lord sees into all of our hearts and the following verse speaks far more eloquently into this issue than anything more that I can write.

He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight”. (Luke 16:15)

For the previous article in this series, click here.

To find out about MY NEW BOOK, "Hope", click here.

You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.

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