As a boy, I painted a picture that was perfect in every way. A masterpiece it was in my eyes to be sure. Coloring was exact. The images were sharp and the picture well formed. Was I a budding artistic prodigy? No, it was all very explainable. You see, it was paint by number, not really an artistic creation at all and certainly it had no lasting value.
Much of our ministry efforts are very explainable. I learned this quote early in ministry that is still true regarding our ministry faith. “If I can explain it, then God did not do it.” Why should God put His effort into what we can do ourselves? Like the western world we live in, we are good at manufacturing and scripting for results. We expect that if we paint the same ministry numbers printed on the success canvass of others we will get the same ministry result.
God working in us through His Spirit does not intend us to follow paint by number schemes. Rather, He will produce His own work in us through faith in ways in which only He can be glorified. This way we know that God is at work because only He can explain it. Yet we go to a church, camp or conference and are comfortable because it’s all painted within the numbers. We go to our conferences and read our books so that we can be accomplished in painting by the numbers. How can we say then that we are working in the Spirit and not recognize that unique methods, abilities and opportunities awaiting us if we would just depend on Him to uniquely guide us?
Is your ministry masterpiece the product of common design or can it be explained as only being from God in faith?