In our zest and zeal to serve the Lord, we can confuse our relationship to God with our ministry for Him.
A personal call is just that - personal. All of us are sheep living in relationship to Jesus who is the Chief Shepherd. He deserves our top priority. We owe Him our love, intimacy, loyalty and dedication. He must have first place in everything, so everything will be in its proper place.
A ministerial call is beyond the personal. It is primarily about what we do on His behalf. It is our ministry to people. It is here that we pray, read and study primarily for others. It is also here where priorities can get very mixed up. We can be feeding others and starving ourselves.
Priority #1. For both sheep and shepherds, it is to Jesus Christ. If that is healthy, then all our other priorities, like to our spouse, children, parents etc., will be in order. Ministry is very demanding and it is easy to neglect God and family with the daily pressures and problems of the people we serve.
Priority #2. If you are married, then you know that God calls your marital relationship to be one. That is His will and plan. Ministry must never divide a couple or family. It is not holier or better than your relationship to your spouse and family who need to be cared for spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Too many marriages and ministries have been shipwrecked because there was a misunderstanding of setting proper priorities in ministry.
Priority #3. It is your actual ministry. It can best be defined as the overflow of your walk with God. If things are healthy in both your personal devotional life and your marriage and family, then your ministry will be healthy.
If priorities are out of order, then it is easy to start relying on our gifting, experience and expertise in ministry, rather than on God. Leaders whose priorities are out of order become less sensitive to the Spirit of God. It is at this point where motives become mixed, carelessness can set in and eventually, shepherds run on routine rather than anointing.
Let us set our priorities according to God's Word and will.
1. Jesus comes first in everything.
2. Love of life expressed to and through your family is second only to Him.
3. Make your ministry an overflow of the first two healthy priorities and enjoy a fruitful life.