Have you ever been offended in ministry because someone took your job away from you? Have you ever been rejected in an idea because your leader decided to go with someone or something else? Have you ever been upset over a difference in opinion? Have you ever been tempted in a relationship or a friendship to become depressed because the other person is not responding like you think they should?
One of the main problems that we Christians have is how we handle the subject of ownership. It has been the cause for many a church-split, hypocritical accusation, and broken heart. One of the greatest lessons we can learn in life is to hold loosely.
It is a true desire that when we invest our hearts and lives into something, we want to see it through and see it done well. Whether it is planting a church, discipling someone, or a project that we have been put in charge of – we are responsible for these things. However, what happens when the time comes to let it go? Or when our leader wants to make changes? Often we feel like someone is ripping our hearts out. We feel the need to prove ourselves worthy, whether or not the change had anything to do with our competence. It is a human desire to be needed and wanted. However, this can be a dangerous desire when it gets in the way of what is best for the Kingdom or when it causes us to live in codependent relationships with those we love.
We must learn to hold loosely to our ministries, our relationships, and our jobs; not because they might end and we might get hurt. Rather, we do so because none of these things were ever really ours to begin with. The pews were never ours in the sanctuary. The church we planted is not ours. Our husband/wife and children are not really ours. The same could be said of our ministry and those we are leading. These things and these people were entrusted to us by God and are dedicated to God. They are His responsibility, and we need to be ready at any point to let them go.
Really, it all comes down to trust. Do we trust God with our families, our church, our ministry, our disciples, our lives? Do we trust that He knows how to best care for these things that we love so much? Sometimes we can be so inwardly focused that we think He cannot possibly love these people as much as we do or we think that He will give what we have invested so much in to someone who will simply destroy what we have created. And what if that happens? Then the question remains: are we living to glorify ourselves, or are we living to glorify God?
As I was struggling this week in a small way in letting go of something, I realized that this is a huge part of life. We are forever having to let go. I have realized that the tighter we hold onto things, the more it hurts when we must let them go. It is more painful when the hurtful words come or we realize how much we really cannot control other people or the situations we find ourselves in. It does not mean that we should put up more walls around our hearts and never give things our all. Rather, we should lay everything down at the cross of Christ, pick up our own cross, and follow Him. Our eyes should never leave Him. Our desire should be for nothing other than Him. And all that is left is trust: trust that He’s got this. Trust that He is enough and that He will always be enough. Hold loosely. Live sacrificially. And always be courageous.