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Entries in desire (6)


Packhorse Christians

Lithograph image, courtesy Degrazia.orgWhen I was serving in the organized Church - first as a pastor, then as a contemporary worship director, it didn't take long for me to notice that utility replaced desire as an indicator of calling.  In other words, "You are here to do whatever needs to be done."  If there's a need, you will fill it.  If the leadership has told you to do it, you will, or risk being downsized.

Usefulness, replaced desire.  It didn't matter that you were endowed with unique desires that indicated a unique calling.  What mattered was that you filled a need - any need - that came across your path. 

I call this the "packhorse" model of ministry: 

"Just carry whatever load you are asked to, whether or not it has anything to do with your particular gifts, dreams, or desires."  All that matters is that the ministry machinery is kept going.

In the packhorse model, people get used.  You're a burro, a donkey for the organization.  It depreciates people who could be making a far greater impact doing what they were designed to do, and turns them into beasts of burden.  A tragic misuse and misplacement of divine giftings and desires.

The horse wants to run, but the organization wants to keep it tethered:  Mustangs don't belong in the corral where the spirit is broken and the steed is altered to become a drafthorse. 

We need permission.  This doesn't mean that we act alone, ignorant of the common good - It means we aren't simply a part of the machinery.  Your calling isn't about becoming more and more domesticated so that you can please the higher-ups. 

You will find your calling through your heart's deepest desires:  Pay attention to them, for in them God has tied ribbons to trees to mark the way back to the wild purpose of your life.


We've been taught to mistrust our desires.

We've been taught to mistrust something God himself has given us:  desire.  All desire.


Here are some common assumptions Christians have often made about their desires and passions, and those assumptions have actually prevented Christians from discovering God's will:

  1. Your desires will get you into trouble.
  2. Your desires are inherently selfish.
  3. Your desires are naturally in opposition to God's will.

We love to quote James 1:14

...but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

No where in this passage does Scripture say that all desire is bad.  In fact, in other places, God actually endorses our desires:

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed...May the Lord grant all your requests.  - Psalm 20:4

You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.  - Psalm 21:2

In fact, Jesus' work in the blind beggar's life  started with, "What do you want me to do for you?"  - Matt. 20:32

Let's be clear:  There are desires of the flesh that can lead us into trouble; and there are whispers from the dark that can entice us.  But the desires of our new heart are good and noble.  As God redeemed our heart, so did he redeem the deep desires of our heart.

Try this:  Allow Jesus to ask you, "What do you want me to do for you?"  What if Jesus is trying to "entice" you with a brand new set of appetites and desires he's already placed within your heart?



Those who are hungry for what you bring

What kind of people most need what you offer?

Jesus’ invitation was extended to those with an appetite for what he had:  hungry and thirsty people.  An individual is not going to come to his table if they are neither hunger nor thirsty.  It’s not their desire to do so ... and desire is the difference.  If they don’t want it, they won’t come.

Therefore, when you consider your own calling, the affect of your life, your unique offering to others, it’s appropriate to ask:  “What type of person will be most receptive to what I offer?  Who will be hungry for what I bring?” 

This is a general guideline for determining the direction in which our calling can go.  However, as with the kind of environment we most want to flourish in, there are occasions where God will place us in adverse environments, surrounded by people who don’t want what we offer.  We ultimately offer our hearts in service to God, and therefore may be asked to bring our selves to those grating and ungracious people.  For a time. 

Take heart – our environment need not define us:  a caged lion is still a lion.  He may wish to return to the open savanna, but only his surroundings have changed; not his noble strength, not his regal splendor. If our appointment to a job (mission) is only for a time, we can take comfort from the fact that the people there can never diminish our splendor or remove our unique glory – for they did not give it.

So what kind of person is most likely to need and want what you bring to the Story?


Podcast-Discovering your calling -- Guest Gary Barkalow talks with Jim

How do we move beyond the personality inventories and spiritual gifts test that often leave us unsatisfied and still looking for our calling?

Gary Barkalow spent seven years on the men's leadership and speaking team with Ransomed Heart Ministries when God called him to launch full-time into helping others discover their place in the Story. 

Gary's teaching on calling is the best and most helpful I've found.  You can learn more about Gary at his website:  www.thenobleheart.com.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes.



Why desire matters in our journey -- Jim tells the story of how his 5-year journey to find a better town for his family and a more sustainable life has now come full circle; and how desire was the glue that held his dreams together when he wanted to give up.  You will also discover that your deep desires matter to God and that he will use them to give you answers and direction.


Download Jim's podcasts (The Good and Noble Heart podcasts) on iTunes.


The pleasure of your purpose

I once asked someone how a person discovers their purpose. Let's face it, many people are stuck in jobs they despise, spending endless hours engaged in actities that mean almost nothing to them.  And they are hungry for more. 

The person I asked quoted Frederick Buechner (who is always good to quote) saying, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deepest gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”


So what brings you a vitality of heart, so that when you are engaged in it, you "feel his pleasure" as the great Scottish runner, Eric Liddell, once said; and you feel your pleasure?  Where is your deep gladness, your raison d'etre? 

You must listen to your heart, but will find it very difficult to do so if you do not begin trusting the deep desires God has placed there.  After all, you have a new heart, and new set of desires that will guide you if you listen to them.  God has given you permission to do so.


Man's ideal state is realized when he has fulfilled the purpose for which he is born.  And what is it that reason demands of him?  Something very easy - that he live in accordance with his own nature."