Young Eagle’s feathers have grown in, but he’s still in the nest. He watches his mother and father soar over trees, swooping low and high. He wants to vault into the sky, too. But he settles back into the nest. Someday. Then one day, Mother Eagle gouges the nest’s twigs with her beak and drops the broken pieces in the nest. She scratches and tears and the nest fills with debris. Young Eagle is crowded out, and he moves to the edge of the nest. Just what Mother Eagle intended.
Young Eagle falls.
Before the ground rushes up to meet him, Mother Eagle dives below Young Eagle, slows her descent, and he settles gently on her back. She rises up, up, not to the safety of the uncomfortable nest but deep into the uncompromising sky. She turns with her wing dipped low and drops Young Eagle.
He beats the sky with his unwieldy wings. He harnesses the wind for a moment, but it’s quickly torn away. He falls. Mother Eagle’s sharp eyes watch him flap and stretch until the last moment. She catches him, and they rise together.
She drops him.
Until he doesn’t.
As followers of Jesus, we can easily feel like the young eagle who is ready to serve God, but we haven’t been called out of the nest. We’re fully grown followers, having moved on from the early days of being fed with milk and now filled with the solid food of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 3:2). We’re raised and ready to fly. The time for being served has grown into the time to serve. We’re ready.
Why isn’t God using me?
Why is she moving from Bible school to the mission field while I’m still living at home?
Why is he publishing his second book and I can’t come up with one good idea for an article?
Why does he have hundreds of listeners for his ministry call and I can’t get 20 people to sign up for my email list?
Why did God answer her prayers for a spouse and I’m still alone?
Why is the Holy Spirit asking me to wait? Why is God saying, “not yet”?
What does he/she/they have that I don’t?
God’s Word answers us when we’re feeling overlooked and under-utilized.
In Matthew 10:29 Jesus reassured a crowd that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from God’s knowledge. If God knows about the sparrow, then He sees you. You are not overlooked. Jesus advised His disciples to pray that God would send workers into His harvest because many souls needed God but there were few workers to tell people about His salvation. God wants workers (Luke 10:2). You are not underutilized.
So why are you still waiting? Where is your work in the harvest? Let this truth assure you:
Mother Eagle isn’t pushing Young Eagle aside; she’s preparing him to fly.
God isn’t pushing you aside; He’s preparing you.
Jesus, too, prepared His fledgling disciples for the great work of harvesting souls. He didn’t send out the disciples untested and untrained to preach after Jesus returned to heaven. Instead, He made them practice. All four gospels record the sending of either the twelve disciples or the seventy disciples. This was the disciples’ preparation phase.
Suggested reading: Luke 10: 1-12 & 17-20; Matthew 10:1-15
We can learn the same ministry preparation lessons that Jesus taught the disciples when He sent them out to preach and heal on the dusty roads of Israel.
Here is what followers of Jesus, then and now, must learn before they’re ready to serve Jesus in a larger capacity:
Be With Him So We Can Be Like Him
Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach…Mark 3.14
Before we are sent out, we are called to be with Him, and learn His heart and His ways so we can become like Him. Before Jesus sent out the twelve or seventy disciples, they needed to follow Him from town to town, listen to His sermons, pick through His parables, observe how He treated sinners, or responded to desperate pleas for healing. Working for Him begins by being with Him.
Our Job Is To Prepare Lost People To Recieve Their Savior
So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.Luke 9.6
Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him to the towns where He would preach. Prepare the way, He instructed. We, too, are sent to the lost sheep to prepare them to receive their Savior and Shepherd. The disciples’ tasks weren’t the point; Jesus was. Our specific ministry work isn’t the point, Jesus is. We could easily be distracted by the tasks Jesus assigns us: preaching, hosting dinner for neighbors, writing books, talking about God on podcasts or on a park bench, and raising children. Jesus asks us to lift our heads from the tasks and focus on Him and what He is doing to save the lost. Tasks are important only when they fulfill the one mission all servants of Christ share: prepare lost souls to receive Jesus.
All Power, Talent, And Skill We Use For God Comes From God
He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.Luke 9.1
Our abilities come from Him and are for His service. Since they are gifts, we don’t work for them, and we shouldn’t be anxious about receiving or retaining them. He who calls you equips you. Our job is to be faithful to what God has called us to do at the moment. God will give us the words and the power to reach the lost and serve others as we need them.
Our Gifts From God Point Others To God
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.Matthew 10.8
Use the gifts you are given to serve others in a way that points them to God’s love. These gifts are a sign of His authority, commissioning, and presence. When we use God’s gifts to serve others, we draw attention to the source of those gifts. Power and miracles drew people to Jesus, but what they truly needed were healed souls more than healed bodies. We don’t need a sign from God or a special commission to use the gifts He’s given us. Opportunities abound in the most ordinary places. Use the evidence of His love to point the way to Jesus.
God Provides For Us When We Are Serving Him, And We Learn To Trust Him In The Process
Provide neither gold not silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.Matthew 10.9-10
God provides for those He sends. Our trust in God emboldens our ministry and encourages unbelievers to trust Him, too. When the mother eagle let the young eagle fall, the young eagle probably wasn’t encouraged to trust her. Until she caught him. Until he learned to fly. Then he understood that in her desire to prepare him to fly, she allowed him to suffer fear just long enough to trust her. Long enough to learn to fly. God will ask us to do scary things in His service. Allowing God opportunities to build trust by providing for us during our training phase will build the wings of trust that help us fly with confidence when God increases our ministry opportunities.
Our Job Is To Faithfully Obey God And Let God Be Responsible For The Results
And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.Matthew 10.14
We are not responsible for the results; God is. When our kindness is rejected, when the church membership dwindles, when they unsubscribe from the email list, when they no longer need our services, we naturally turn inward and wonder what we’ve done wrong. But the apostle Paul wrote that one plants, one waters, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). If we believe that people are saved by our efforts, then we are giving ourselves far too much credit. Remain faithful and leave the increase to God.
Focus On The Vine Before Rejoicing In The Fruit
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” … “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10.17-20
Focus on what matters most: Repentance, faith, and eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The visible fruits are not more important than the source of those fruits. Jesus’ miracles drew fanfare and followers far and wide. But when He died on a cross, defeating the power of sin forever, even His own disciples considered His ministry a failure. A rising church membership, a hundred new subscribers, a promotion, a thousand gospel tracts handed out. Fruits may be evidence of a thriving ministry. They are not, however, the vine. Those fruits, lovely and ripe, cannot survive without the source of life, and that is Christ. Don’t let fruit convince you that everything is going well, but don’t let a lack of fruit lead you to believe that God isn’t working. Focus on the cross – preaching it, writing it, loving it, serving it, living its message of salvation.
When the disciples returned from preaching and healing and casting out demons, rejoicing in their success, they still weren’t ready to go out permanently and spread the gospel. The disciples still lacked one thing…
The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ Must Transform Us Before We Can Carry The Message To The World.
“But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel” … “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”Luke 24.21a & Acts 2.36
The message of the cross and the empty tomb is the message that transforms the world. After Jesus’ crucifixion, two discouraged disciples walked along the road to Emmaus. Jesus, disguised from the disciples’ eyes, approached. Why are you sad? To these disciples, the Man who fed thousands from a few loaves of bread and a handful of fish, who raised the dead, who walked on water, had failed. He had not overthrown the oppressive Roman government and returned sovereignty to a weary Israel. Jesus had failed. They would wait for someone else. But after Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His followers, after He returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples, the disciples preached a single message: This Jesus who was crucified and rose again is Lord and Christ. The resurrection transformed the disciples.
Before we are ready to serve God, the message of the cross that transforms the world must transform us, too. The disciples’ transformation from discouraged and downtrodden people to joyful and fearless evangelists is among the most convincing evidence that they had, indeed, seen the risen Christ.
Our transformation from sin-sick slaves of death to forgiven, whole, and utterly changed followers of Jesus is our greatest evangelism tool. Let the changes Christ made in you show that world that you have, indeed, met the risen Christ.
Now that Young Eagle can soar, he is ready to go forth into the sky. To build a nest of his own and to create new eagles like himself. To go forth into God’s harvest and make disciples in His name. Your time is coming. Until then, let Jesus teach you how to fly.
At Ethnos360 Bible Institute, our heart is to equip followers of Christ for a life spent serving the Lord. Want more information on how you can be involved? Request your free information packet today!