In I Samuel 17, David went to the battleground to take food to his brothers as his father had asked him to do. When David arrived on the scene, he couldn't believe the sight before him. The Philistine giant mocked and cursed God while the Israelite army (including King Saul) cowered in their tents. In defense of God's honor, David tried to stand up for what was right but was quickly ridiculed by his brother, who accused David of just trying to get in on the action. David's response to his brother was, "Is there not a cause?"
David basically said, "Yes, I want in on the action, but not for the reasons you think. It's not for fame or glory. I'm not trying to make a name for myself. But I'm standing up for what I believe in." Was there a cause? Was there a reason for David to stand up? Absolutely.
Likewise, we all have a cause today. We've been given a command to reach out and tell the lost about salvation. We have directions to be witnesses in all the earth. We've been called to evangelize and edify, and that calling is manifested in many ways. Some preach. Some teach. Some write. Some sing. Some minister in prisons, hospitals and nursing homes. No matter the method, the charge is the same: bring souls to Christ and lift up the fallen.
One of the things that the Lord has really been stressing to me over the past several weeks is that I need to keep my focus on the cause and nothing else. It's so easy for me to become obsessed over the cost, the sacrifice, the needs and so on that I completely lose sight of the cause. I do what I'm supposed to do, but sometimes I forget why I'm doing it. It's easy to become distracted, and we must beware of this, for it is one of Satan's methods to detour us from the work God has called us to do. As we discussed in the previous post, we can become so busy walking in circles that we're not doing any good.
For the last while, I've been overly focused on the cost of this ministry. Money continues to go out, but so little comes in (though that is changing, and for that, I am SO grateful). I've been concentrating on the sacrifice to me, but especially to my poor husband who works so hard to provide for our family and the ministry too. I've been obsessed over the overwhelming needs to write more books, send more cards, add more levels to the ministry to help more people. And while I thought I was doing a good thing by focusing on the ministry, I wasn't concentrating on the right part of the ministry. I was far too focused on the cost and not focused enough on the cause.
So, lately, I've been asking myself, "What is the cause?" or "What is the purpose of the ministry?" In a word, my answer is "encouragement." God has called me to encourage the lost that they're not too far gone to be saved, to give them hope in Jesus. He has called me to lift up those who are discouraged and downcast with inspiration drawn from His Word. He has chosen to use me to be a beacon of truth in a world where false teachers are telling people that if they want something bad enough, God will let them have it, and all they need to do to be in step with God's will is to trust their hearts. Is there not a cause? You bet there is!
Now, it's time for me to make sure that the cause is my primary focus, to seek first the kingdom of God. When I do, I can trust that everything else will fall into place. It may not happen today or even next week, but God knows what's best, and He knows what we need to further the gospel. If we're about His business, focused on the cause, then, just like David, we cannot fail. The giant will topple, and the victory will belong to God. David was so focused on the cause of defending God's honor that he didn't seem a bit intimidated by the giant before him. That's how we need to be. Sure, the giants are big, but God is bigger. And the cause? Well, I think we'd all agree that it's pretty great. . .even when compared to Goliath.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31