8 Reasons for Leaders to Give God a Blank Check
Shel: Great sermon clip (same thing on following God/leading from a freewill then a more reformed perspective) and article below, Before the last two ministry changes in my life the Lord had nudged me for a while to get me to go and be "a blank check" to go invest the "talents"He's given in a faith risking way. I should also say Greg Boyd's sermon series1 on Spiritual gifts and not resting on yesterday's faith with facts and people who change was also important . Again, the Parable of the Talents continues to challenge and inform my personal risk-taking for the Kingdom.
1 http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/mystery-of-the-miraculous Boyd's particular teaching that reinforced the gift of faith God has given to me from time to time - and knowing when a season is over:
One thing I will say about it is this. It’s important when you are in a ministry or task or relationship that you need persistence against all odds that you keep checking in with the Holy Spirit.
People make decisions, angels make decisions that effect things that come to pass and sometimes circumstances change windows of opportunity can close.
[NOTE: In the sermon Boyd makes a strong point of persistence in the face of obstacles - even impossible ones if God has given a gift of faith for that. No willy-nilly jump ship teaching here. However, he adds they important of ongoing listening/checking-in with the Spirit because things might have changed - listen or read the sermon!]
So it can happen that a plan that God has to move you this way gets closed because of decisions that people or angels or other things make and so now God wants to reassign you something.
If you are not listening to the Spirit, you will keep following last year’s call and you may find yourself stubbornly hitting your head against the wall where God knows that wall is not going to move and He’s trying to tell you but if you’re not listening then you’ll just keep on doing it.
Just because God called you to something last year doesn’t mean He’s calling you to it this year.
That doesn’t mean you heard wrongly when He changes the plan, He does it in the bible, all of bible. God changes His mind on certain things because circumstances change.
This was feasible but is no longer feasible because people made this decision so lets move in this direction, that door closes let’s go in this direction.
Folks, following the Spirit isn’t about coasting on something He told you to do 5 years ago, it’s listening to the Spirit today, moment by moment. We need to be walking in step with the Spirit because God knows all the things, all the variables; He knows the best place for you to put your time, energy and persistence to.
He doesn’t want you wasting your time on things that are no longer a possibility. This is why God may call you to pursue something, something like this building, but it may not turn out.
It doesn’t mean that we heard God wrongly; it just means that people made decisions or angels made decisions that changed the circumstances. What would happen if these 3 owners had not got in a fight? A lot of things could happen that would change the plan but God saw that this was possible, maybe even feasible and so he pushes in this direction and worked behind the scenes to bring it about.
So stay in touch with the Spirit, always be checking in on what’s going on today.
Don’t coast on yesterday’s calling...
Here is a more conservative take on the same thing by Chuck Lawless 8-Reasons Leaders Give God a Blank Check (cheque)
I will simply state up front what you will likely realize: I write this blog as a Southern Baptist, but I trust its application is clear for all Christians. Twice now within the past several months – first from International Mission Board president David Platt, and most recently from my president at Southeastern Seminary, Danny Akin – I have heard a similar challenge. “What we must do,” they have said in different contexts, “is give God a blank check. Give Him the check, and let Him fill in the blanks.”
I have been a follower of Jesus for a long time, but the “blank check” image is still stretching me. In fact, few exhortations have been as thought provoking to me. Below are eight reasons why the “blank check” call is both necessary and challenging for me as I strive to be a leader in God’s work. Perhaps the image will likewise challenge you.
It forces me to recognize the idolatry of my comfort. If I’m honest, I can easily get comfortable where I am. The routine may be monotonous at times, but it’s safe . . . convenient . . . familiar . . . reassuring. If I agree to follow God but only within my comfort zone, though, my ease has become my idol.
It requires me to evaluate how deeply my faith affects my daily living. Do I, for example, really believe my life is not my own? If I have given my life to Jesus, my yesterdays are forgiven, my todays rest in His hands, and my tomorrows are entirely His. The blank check about tomorrow should not alarm me today if I trust that God is holy, loving, and sovereign.
It reminds me that the Christian life really is about faith. Living by faith means trusting God as He unrolls the scroll of our lives. We follow Him obediently each day, not knowing what each further roll – that is, the blank check – will bring, yet believing the fully unrolled scroll will reflect His glory and wisdom.
It reinforces the truth that God’s plan might be costly for me. God alone has the right to fill in the blank check. He may use us to conquer kingdoms . . . or He may send us to persecution and death (Heb. 11:32-38). I proclaim this reality, but seldom do I deeply consider the truth that death could fill the line on my blank check. That thought is, to be honest, almost too heavy to ponder.
It calls me to ask if I truly believe God is all-wise. It’s easy to preach about His wisdom in the relative safety of my North American seminary classroom or local church pulpit. I don’t know if it would be as easy, however, if His calling were to require moving my family to a center of Islam . . . or leaving a mega-church to plant an urban congregation . . . or downsizing to provide more dollars for His work . . . or suffering in the midst of telling the gospel.
It prompts me to consider my burden over the lostness of the world and the reality of hell. Both David Platt and Danny Akin are driven by a theological urgency to get the good news to people who do not know Jesus. My level of willingness to give God a blank check may well be a reflection of whether I share that urgency. Frankly, that assessment stings a bit.
It fractures any belief that I am Christ-like. Jesus, of course, knew what obedience to the Father would cost Him. With “cross” written on the check, Jesus said, “not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Until I am willing to have the ultimate cost written on my blank check so others might be saved, I do not yet fully reflect the heart of Christ.
It drives me to deep self-reflection. No matter how long I have been a Jesus follower, I still need Holy Spirit-led personal reflection in the light of God’s Word. I need men of God who challenge me to a level of holy discomfort, who unreservedly call me to give God a blank check.
I have a long way to go. Please pray for me.
Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.
FYI Here's another one - I remember years ago confronting a leader on this one: http://thomrainer.com/2014/12/17/one-sentence-pastors-church-staff-hate-hear/