Posted in Mark

The Privilege of Partnership

“After me comes One who is mightier than I, and I am not even fit to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals.” Mark 1:7

John the Baptist led a nationwide revival in Israel where his preaching prepared the way for Jesus. Yet he didn’t feel like he was doing God a favor, but only that he was immensely privileged to do anything in partnership with the One who was mightier than he was.

Shortly after we moved our family to Montevideo, MN in the mid-nineties, I received a call from a woman in the church I was the pastor of. One of her favorite missionaries was coming to visit and she was hoping I would have him speak on the Sunday morning he was in town. I said I’d pray about it, but the truth was that I was a little miffed about even being asked. I was brand new and trying to establish myself in the pulpit, so I just didn’t want to give up a Sunday morning to someone I didn’t know, even if he was an established missionary.

One night shortly after my little tantrum I had a dream. A friend of mine was holding a huge missions night at his church and I was to be the “special speaker.” It even said that on the posters they had up advertising the event. But after the meal my friend turned to me and said, “Things have changed. We’re not going to have you speak tonight.” What struck me was that he didn’t even say he was sorry, in fact, I could tell he wasn’t sorry. That scene stopped and another started.

I was in the foyer of Lake City Church (now City Church) where I was holding a small workshop at a convention. There were only fifteen people there but I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit all over me. I spoke briefly and then asked if any wanted to receive Christ. Several hands went up and when I asked them to come forward they were so overcome by the power of the Spirit they fell on the floor on their way forward.

I woke up from the dream and a couple of things were very clear to me. The friend in the first scene represented the Holy Spirit and He wanted me to know that whether He uses me or not is His choice, and He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation if He decides not to use them. The second truth that filled my heart was that ministry is only special when the Holy Spirit is present. Whether there is one, fifteen, or a thousand – it’s His presence and His anointing alone that makes any opportunity meaningful and powerful. We should never care about being “special” in the eyes of people because it’s only what God thinks about us that matters.