DIVERSE WAYS OF RECEIVING ASSIGNMENT IN MINISTRY.
Dr. Mike Oluniyi.
The assignment which God gives individuals are so important to Him.
As much as there are diverse assignments He gives, there are also diverse ways and circumstances in which He assigns. Looking through the scriptures, we discover that God assigns people through different circumstances. There is no particular or exclusive way, and no particular style. After all, He is the Almighty! The most popular scripture about receiving vision or divine assignment is found in the book of Habakkuk 2:1-3;
‘I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower,
and will watch to see what he will say unto me,
and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
And the LORD answered me, and said,
Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
that he may run that readeth it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time,
but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:
though it tarry, wait for it;
because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’
The scripture talks about watching or waiting on God until He speaks. Watching does not mean that you stay in one place waiting for Him to give the instructions, though it may sometimes entail doing so. It may generally entail being observant in the course of your life to know when there is need for you to pay attention divine dealings.
After God has spoken, there is the need to write down the vision because of the short attention span of human memory. Writing it down may be in terms of publicity, not keeping it to yourself but making others to know. It is also very important for you to write down what you have been given because no one can do ministry alone. If you don’t write it down, there will be no record that those who are to run with your vision may follow without ambiguity. You should be able to say without clearly what God has assigned you to do. Another reason why you have to write it down is because the vision is for an appointed time.
After God might have given you a vision, there is still a waiting period. Every vision is for an appointed time, you must not be so impatient that you miss the lessons that God wants you to learn during your period of waiting. If you miss it during the period of waiting, it may either elongate your period of waiting or it may it may make you not to be able to fully manifest due to the missed lessons. If you do not document your vision, you may lose the details during your waiting period.
Following are the circumstances surrounding how some of the major characters in the Bible received their own vision or life assignments. You may need to observe that the circumstances are diverse.
The Moses encounter.
Moses was in the wilderness, tending the flock of his father in law when he experienced the visitation of God which defined his momentous path in life and ministry.
‘And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed…God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I… And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey;… Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.’ (Ex.3:2-10)
You may experience Moses encounter, while on your legitimate secular endeavors. The work was not really a religious engagement, yet it was while he was on it that God gave him his life vision. The lesson in it is that even your day to day engagements should be handled as if it was given to you by God. For a genuine child of God, your profession is like a mission field. Such an atmosphere is a fertile ground for God’s visitation in your life.
The Joseph encounter. (Gen.40:1-14)
Joseph got his own life assignment through the interpretation of dreams. His was a call to preservative leadership in a strange land. This kind of visitation may happen to individuals as they serve others faithfully. If you are serving under a master or in a ministry, serve faithfully, as it may be in the place of your service that God will give you your own assignment. There are many that are too impatient to wait and receive their mandate, like Ahimaaz in the Bible who got put aside as a result of the fact that he had no message for the king;
‘Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies…yet again to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?…And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was. And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still’. (2Sam.18:19-30)
People who fail to wait for their own message in ministry may initially outrun others, but they eventually get stranded in ministry. Therefore, learn to interprete the dream of your master through faithful service. At the end of the day, your own vision might even be to keep on serving your master! You can’t query God for it. On the contrary you will discover that the fulfillment that many general overseers don’t have, you will have it while serving, if God’s mandate to you is to continue to serve in that ministry.
The Samuel Encounter.
In the case of Prophet Samuel, his assignment came in a way that he was not even aware that God was speaking to him. It took the experience of Eli, his master for him to know that he was experiencing divine visitation.
‘Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.’ (1Sam.3:9-10)
His master thus played a major role in his understanding of divine purpose. Your relationship with the person God has asked you to submit to may therefore often play a crucial role in your assignment in ministry. Maintaining the relationship between you and your source may therefore be crucial.
After David had been called as the king, his vision of removing the reproach of the philistines from Israel came to him on battle ground. He was totally incensed by the effrontery of the army of the Philistines as represented by Goliath, against the armies of Israel. He just felt that something must be done to make the Philistines to know that they could not defy the armies of Israel and go free..
‘And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?’ (1Sam.17:26)
It happens when you are dissatisfied with the status quo. God may use your dissatisfaction about what is happening around you to assign you to a corrective mission that will become a life assignment.
How do you feel about unrighteous acts around you? The passion in your heart as a result of lack of satisfaction concerning things going on around you may become a gateway through which the vision of God for your life may be birthed.
The Esther encounter.
The Esther encounter involves a timely message from a significant other to you at your place of comfort, about the needful, which becomes a divine assignment. Her uncle Mordecai told her in Esther 4:14;
‘For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place;…: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’
Such an assignment comes when you are comfortable, and appears like a call away from your comfort zone. If you feel that you don’t want to trade your comfort for the assignment, it will pass you by and render you irrelevant because it is your divine assignment that makes you relevant in life.
Esther responded by sending a message back to Mordecai thus;
‘Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.’ (Est.4:16)
Sometimes, the assignment is like you are risking your life or reputation to carry it out. The truth is that He that has called you however, goes with you into the assignment. Sometimes when you have the Esther encounter and refuse to respond, God may remove your comfort and render you helpless, only to return to that same assignment later, after stripping you of those comforts.
The Nehemiah encounter.
The Nehemiah encounter is had when it is your concern for the homeland that consumes you. Nehemiah was passionately concerned about Israel while he was comfortable as the cup bearer of the king in shushan
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, (Neh.1:3-4)
Such an assignment comes when you are deeply concerned about the state of the kingdom of God. Such concern is a fertile ground for God given vision. In the case of Nehemiah, he was given the vision to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem and reorganize the leadership structure.
The Blessed Mary encounter.
Mary was apparently just an ordinary lady who God in His sovereign will, singled out from all other single ladies in Israel in her days. God visited and favored her for the assignment of the motherhood of Jesus Christ. One major fact to note is that Mary was a virgin. Virginity signifies purity, which in your case may be purity in your in your heart towards the things of God.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD?
or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity,
nor sworn deceitfully. (Ps.24:3-4)
Your heart towards God in your relationship with Him is vital towards His dealings with you. Despite the fact that there must have been many other virgins in the land of Israel, the angel approached her and said;
‘…Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Lk.1:28)
The Simon Peter Encounter.
In the circumstances of the encounter of Peter, he was a fisherman who was highly experienced in the trade. However the encounter with Jesus brought him to the place of the assignment of his life, which is to become a fisher of men. The circumstances of his life at that point is the ability to forsake his fishing business and follow Jesus, just like Elisha left his farming business to follow Elisha. This kind of encounter occurs when a man is required to leave his secular job or business completely in response to the the assignment given to him by the master.
The Paul encounter.
Apostle Paul was on his way to Damascus to deal with Christians when he had his own encounter. One can’t help but wonder why it should be someone that had done so much against His church that would be selected for such an important task in the early church. One thing that one could see in the circumstances of his own assignment is that he was a highly committed man. God must have seen that the same level of commitment he used against the gospel would be useful for the New Testament church. It is therefore not surprising that there are several ministers of God today that God encountered in the prison after committing grievous sins. Paul said;
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. (1Cor.9:6-7)
Lessons From Who or How God Assigns.
• It is not a matter of qualification.
• It is not a matter of status in life.
• It is not a matter of what you want but what He wants.
• It is not a matter of Age.
• It is not a matter of what you planned to do with your life.
• It is not a matter of whether or not it is convenient for you.
• It is not a matter of how far you have gone in the opposite direction.
The diverse circumstances of life which is apparent in the life of those he assigned in the scriptures show to us that who we were or what we planned to do with our life doesn’t matter when God assigns. God decides on who to assign, as well as what to assign to you. Whatever He has assigned to you, whether big or small is important to God.
DIVERSE WAYS OF RECEIVING ASSIGNMENT IN MINISTRY.