I'm not a naturally organized individual. My personality doesn't lend itself to ordering my life. AT. ALL. The number of times I've misplaced something and frantically searched to recover it, well, it's embarrassingly frequent.
I spoke this last Friday on Luke 19:10, "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Sadly, the first thing that came to mind was how many personal things I have lost and desperately sought after to save!
I can't tell you how many times I have checked every pocket of every jacket and pant, every inch of my car, turned my house upside down in efforts to save a lost key or money clip. It's more often than I'd like to admit! In fact, I'm so familiar with the routine, that I have it down to a science!
As soon as I've discovered that something is missing, I have a regimented sequence of efforts that I immediately launch into. And so far, my search and rescue operations have proved successful! I've never lost a set of keys or a wallet long enough to need to replace them! I'm proud to say, I always end up relocating these valuables.
But these things are a far cry from that which the Son of Man came to seek and save. As I prepared to deliver this message on seeking to save the lost, the parable of the lost sheep, in Luke 15, struck a chord with me. Verse 4 points out that the shepherd sought after the lost sheep until he found it.
That word, "until" resonated with me. Did he search until he was tired, or hungry? Until it got late, and was dark?
Do I have a stopping point? Is it until spring break? Until I'm married? Until it's inconvenient? Until school begins? Until I get too busy?
Jesus goes on to tell another story of a women who lost a valuable coin in her home. She lights a lamp, sweeps the house and searches "carefully until she finds it."
Both of these scenarios involve an upset of life and schedule. Both the shepherd and the women were inconvenienced. It was not simple, easy, or just "along the way." Their finds required sacrifice and great effort!
In the late 1800s, the missionary and explorer David Livingstone wrote from the jungles of Africa, “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”
How much opposition do I require to bring my search and rescue mission to a halt? As a believer, I must identify my premature stopping points, and remove them. The heart of God pursues the lost until they are found! 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us that the Lord is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
I know I've not been willing to stop looking for my own valuable possessions, but have I been willing to give up on a lost soul?
David Brainard, an evangelist to the Native Americans in the early 1700s wrote, "I care not where I go, or how I live, or what I endure so that I may save souls. When I sleep I dream of them; when I awake they are first in my thoughts.”
When we realize that something of great value has been lost, we stop our entire lives to locate it. We cancel meetings, miss work or school... life simply halts when you have no keys or wallet. The finding of those things consumes us!
It said of the women who lost the coin, that she searched "diligently" or "carefully" (depending on your translation). Consider these synonyms:
Diligently: perseveringly, actively, constantly, eagerly, earnestly, persistently, tirelessly, painstaking, being steadfast, hardworking and unrelenting.
Carefully: conscientiously, attentively, cautiously, faithfully, accurately, deliberately, precisely, meticulously and thoroughly.
Just think on that for a bit!
It said of the shepherd, that he went after... I looked up the root of that phrase, to "go after" and its simple meaning rocked me: to pursue, and to continue on a journey, to depart from life and follow after another, to chase after, to stop a routine and focus on a pursuit.
WOW! Do I step out of my routine to save a lost soul? Am I ready to be inconvenienced, to depart from my predictions and schedules if need be? Or do I leave that for the evangelist? The young people? The preacher? The FILL IN THE BLANK!
Elton Trueblood said, “Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus.”
Charles Spurgeon was asked by a student whether or not the heathen who have not heard the Gospel will be saved. His reply was, “It is more a question with me whether we, who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not, can be saved.”
I'm pulling out all the stops, and giving myself to seeking and saving that which is lost. Proverbs 11:24 exhorts us to "rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward the slaughter." Whatever my excuses and reasonings have been, I'm aligning myself with the passion of heaven to rescue earth.
I'm ready to diligently and carefully seek and save that which is lost; to persevere, to believe and endure until the lost are found. If I can do it for my wallet and keys, then surely I can do it for humanity.
My last post "The Prophet Gandalf"
dug up the misconceptions of what a prophet is, and what he is not. Today, I want to dive past the linguistics and definitions and go on to uncover the greatness of the prophet's ministry, role, and call. What does he do, and why does he do it?
The prophets of Scripture were great and many. Isaiah, Daniel, Jonah, Ezekiel, Samuel, Joel, Malachi, Hosea, Micah, David… The list goes on. We don’t have the time or space here to look in depth at any of these. But based on basic Bible knowledge, let me pull out a few key points.
Some prophets, such as Samuel, Jonah, Daniel and others, were uniquely motored by the awareness of sin and impending judgment of God on their people/nation. They were men who saw present sin and raised their voice for intervention. We see their motivation to prophesy (and the content of their prophecies) was supplied when the promises of God ran into the roadblock of disobedience.
When these men were able to grasp the depth and beauty of God’s purpose, they were stricken with grief at how far short Israel had fallen of that purpose. When they saw the harlotries of a lost and dying people, riddled with compromise, they were driven to open their mouth prophesy!
Prophecy is often birthed from the broken and adrift people of God meeting the hope of His promise. And repentance is the natural response.
Micah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, John and many others were moved by this same compassion. But these men played a more vision-casting role than they did an intercessory role. These prophets looked to the future at God’s goodness and mercy. They were trumpeters of hope and destiny, prophesying the coming of the Lord and the plans of God for mankind.
These prophets called to future action and hope rather than past actions and repentance. We see that, over-all, prophecy is broken down into those two streams of thought:
1) Calling to repentance, in light of judgment.
2) A proclamation of hope, in light of God’s promises.
Although both messages are needed, different prophets are graced for different times and seasons, to proclaim the message most needed for their generation. And both messages well up out of a heart moved by compassion, driven and compelled by the greatest force on earth: love.
We've all seen or heard people who claim to be prophetic, but they are energized by charismatic congregations, or the hope of a dawning career as a traveling man of God. Their loud and boisterous voices grow seemingly more passionate as waving audiences stand to their feet in applause.
It's so easy to tap into a wrong motivation, and find ourselves powered by religious knowledge or a great personality. But those things never sustain the call of God for long.
The voice of a "prophet" empowered by popularity or pay is shallow indeed, and is a far cry from those who've gone before. The prophets of old were often hated, rejected and poor. A prophet is not fueled by emotion or "amens!" He is not motored by personal agenda, he doesn't ride the wave of personality, or echo the philosophies of religion. No. He is a prophet. He is driven by something much greater. Something noble, distinguished, and of great substance.
A true prophet is powered by love. Prophecy is the simple unveiling of God's love for man to see. To prophesy is to love. Loving people, being moved by their condition. Loving God, being moved by His heart for the people He sees.
Prophets connect the heart of God to the heart of man. They capture the supernatural voice of God and translate into natural human tongue. They grab ahold of heaven and pull it down to earth for man to see! This is the ministry of the prophet. What an incredible work!
Sadly, many have assumed the title and denied the responsibility.
Prophecy is not a cold and hollow voice of wisdom, nor is it a wild preacher spitting hallelujahs at a shouting congregation. It is a fatherly cry to a lost and needy generation. It is warm and full with the depths of compassion. A prophet feels. He feels the people. He feels God. He brings the two together in a declaration of divine intent.
This world is needy for prophets to arise once again. We do not need more religion. We do not need more books, conferences and seminars. We need men and women to see the desperation of our culture and be driven to our knees. We need to call on the name of Jesus to rend the heavens and ignite our hearts and minds, to open our eyes and ears, and most importantly, to loose our tongues and unleash our voices! It is high time we get in tune and hear the heartbeat of God for a lost a dying world. Let's open our mouths and be the voice of God breaking the silence with the Word of the Lord to a culture gone deaf with the words of man.
Gandalf the White
I was humored the other day by a conversation I had with a group of teenagers on what a prophet is. Most of them had been raised in religious environments, so I anticipated a rational and somewhat accurate response. But their questions and answers were almost comical as they discussed their view of a prophet!
Over the course of the conversation, the picture they painted for me, out of their understanding of a prophet, was somewhat of an ancient mystic; a conceptual forecaster of chance and destiny; an idealist predicting the luck and doom of man; a saint-like icon of wisdom and spirituality; a gray-haired, divine medium of fates and fortunes; a mystical voice connecting the secrets of the spirit realm to the imposed reality of the natural realm.
They basically ended up describing Gandalf the White, the good wizard from the Lord of the Rings.
At first I was a bit bewildered at how far off these students were, and how culture so easily shapes our views of biblical roles and ministries. But it got me thinking!
I quickly realized the prophet is drastically misunderstood, misrepresented, mishandled and misconstrued. His role and function, his purpose and duties, his home and title have ALL suffered great blows, not from entertainment as much as from religious nuts, spiritualists and various false religions who have played a major role in the modern-day believers perception of the prophet.
Under attack for centuries, the office of the prophet has endured the accusations of the confused, offended and independent. They have been idolized and worshiped, exalted in the minds of the naïve and deceived. They have been rejected and out cast by realists and post-modern ideals. And now, what’s left is a battered and torn rank whose vitality has been reduced to a wizard-like image of past glories.
After class, I wanted to broaden my understanding and be better prepared to offer an accurate explanation. I began to stir and muse and dig into the biblical role of the prophet. What is this rank? Who is this prophet meant to be? What lies behind the polluted, distorted picture we see today? I hope you are as energized as I am at my findings!
First lets look at the actual word. According to Webster a prophet is:
(1) one who utters divinely inspired revelations
(2) a person who has encountered the supernatural or the divine and serves as an intermediary with humanity
(3) one gifted with more than ordinary spiritual and moral insight
(4) one who foretells future events, a predictor
(5) a spiritual seer
(6) one who causes the disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual truth
These definitions seem to line up with the dark and dreamy picture my students painted for me. If any of them had turned to Webster for verification of their theories, they would have been confirmed.
But let's not put the weight of defining and clarifying the role of a prophet on the shoulders of Webster or Gandalf. Lets take a look at the prophet through the eyes of scripture, and see what we find.
There are three key words used liberally throughout scripture in direct conjunction with prophets and prophecy. They are naba, nataf and propheteuo.
As we take a closer look, you will see what incredible colors and qualities these words give to the over-all picture.
"Naba," means "to bubble up, gush forth,” giving us a picture of life and fullness. A fountain gushing, a volcano erupting, a dam breaking! There is energy. There is life. There is power. Prophets are men who are full to the brim with the heart of God! So packed with hope and life and anointing they simply overflow!
A prophet doesn’t dribble glimpses of hope by sputtering vague promises here and there. Their words do not trickle from depleted, self-made wells of philosophies. It isn’t a parched and performing vision that is cast. It is real. It is alive. It is plentiful. And it gushes from an inexhaustible source.
"Nataf," means "to fall as drops of rain,” speaking of the refreshing and life-giving power of the prophet’s work. It comes from heaven, from God. It is not of man. It is not of this world. It is sovereign; divine. Just like rain falls from the sky and flows through the land in rivers and streams bringing life and growth to the ground; so does prophecy. It is like bits and pieces of heaven falling all over the soul of man bringing hope and life and potential! It collects and flows through humanity stirring life and causing growth. It brings forth fruit and results.
"Propheteuo," means "to say, to speak forth,” showing the simplicity of their role. A prophet is not a palm reader or a crystal gazer. They are not trance-casting spellbinders. They are human. They open their mouth and speak. It is not magical. It is not a formula or a recipe or a learned pattern to follow. There is not a special concoction. No white staff or pointy hat. It is simply men speaking the words of God to fellow men.
So far, I'm envisioning something altogether different from a wizard! These words bring a completely different feel to the prophet and prophecy, not even close to what my students were describing!
There is nothing dark or mysterious about this. It is life and light! It is hope and power! The prophet is a bright and shining beacon of destiny and second chances! The prophet champions the cause of redemption bringing refreshing and newness to the dryness and deadness of humanity.
It is sad to say that so many false prophets have risen, or false representations have become so main-stream. There is great need for a new generation of prophets, of people who speak the word of the Lord, to arise and redefine what this world has tried to ruin.
Lets stand up and begin to speak life and truth! There is a sovereign duty that rests on today's believers. Gordon Fee says, “the antidote for abuse is proper use.” Our connection to God, our churches, our ability to discern right and wrong, our sensitivity to the supernatural... these things have been abused. It's time to put them to proper use! It's time you and I start painting a new picture, start reversing the damage, and set the record straight! There is a job to be done, and Gandalf just won't do.
It's shocking how UGLY preachers can come across. I remember a couple years ago, sitting with thousands of people in a packed venue, watching a preacher take the stage by storm.
He was a sharp guy, a persuasive communicator, he was well built and well dressed. He had a lot going for him: personality, wealth, multiple top-selling books, and more. On natural terms, this guy might have seemed like he could portray an appealing message, an attractive gospel.
But after sitting through his spitting message for an hour or so, there was nothing interesting or appetizing about the message he was giving! I left feeling repulsed by the over-all tone and impression he conveyed. It seemed impossible, unattainable, and out of reach. I was not inspired or hopeful.
I've wondered how easy it must be for any of us Christians to do the same thing, on a smaller scale. Does my walk and talk exemplify the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel? Or do I beat it down to a frustrating and impossible message that repels more than attracts?
Some believers pride themselves in being carriers of the Gospel, regardless of how they come across. They hold their heads high and say, "beautiful are the feet of those who preach!"
Well, Romans 10:5 clarifies, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good joy."
The beauty lies in the nature of the message. Not in the duty of the messenger. It's not the "preach" factor that makes the situation so noble and upright, it's the "gospel of peace" factor! The beauty and life is not found in the Bible thumper, but in the "glad tidings of good joy."
Many evangelists and preachers have mistakenly given the gospel an ugly feel. And it's easy to do! Think about it: the good is SO good because the bad is SO bad. And that's truth! It's the sin that makes righteousness so blessed, pain that makes healing such a miracle, and had none of us been dead in our sin, how would we ever be able to recognize and celebrate the life we've since received?
These contrasts are what validate and prove the authenticity of the Gospel. But if we overemphasize, or camp on the wrong thing, the world will tune us out before they've heard the true message! By and large, the Bible is a book of hope and redemption, a story of grace and second chances. Yes, consequences are real, justice happens, sin hurts and will be judged... these are vital topics that are essential for the rounding out of the Gospel message. But they aren't the theme! They aren't the focal point!
Does our life message mistakenly feature the wrong part of the Gospel? Do we highlight the problems more than the solutions? Don't get me wrong, I believe the "problems" need to be addressed, and should be included in the testimony of any believer. But the main act in my story is salvation! Hello? I am saved! Right?
It's not about hell, it's about heaven. Not about who I am, but who I serve. Not where I've been, but where I'm going. Not about the past, but about the future. It's not about sin, it's about forgiveness.
It's good. It's the gospel. And it's beautiful.
When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are... Jiminy Cricket has inspired millions around the world with this simple song. Anyone raised in the USA has had this tune stuck in their head at one point or another!
Every little soul aspires to dream and believe and reach for the stars, add some Disney magic and what do you get? A whole culture that crosses fingers, knocks on wood, tosses coins into fountains and wishes upon stars all in hopes for a turn of the fates.
We count the petals of a rose to discover whether she loves me, or she loves me not. We send seeding dandelions whirling away in a breath, imagining each floating tuft to somehow bring our dreams into reality! And who blows out birthday candles before making a wish?
These whims of hope and tradition are innocent and at times magical. But sooner or later we realize that the fairy godmother just isn't going to show up!
It can be disheartening to feel your soul sink at the realization that your hopes were childish and unrealistic. We've all had high hopes come crashing down. Ashamed and unwilling to repeat the failure, we resolve to just set the bar lower next time.
But I believe that God is the one who put that aspiring, hopeful nature in all of us. And He gave us plenty to wish upon and hope in.
Psalm 119:147 "I rise before the dawning of the morning... I hope in Your word."
I don't wish upon an intention or bank on a feeling or an inclination. The Word is a real thing. It's not according to a dream or a desire. No. It's according to the Word. The memorable and recordable revelation of God's will. It's a sure cause. It's a proven and dependable source. It's a viable option. It's safe. It's a secure investment worthy of all my confidence and trust. It's possible. It's likely.
This is no wishing star. It's a title deed.
It's not when we bank on the power of a wish, but when we believe in the power of a promise; it's then that magic materializes into miracles. This is no mark of immaturity or ignorance. Hopes set upon this given word are far more secure and reliable than hearts set upon a wishing well or wailing wall.
Luke 1:38 "Let it be to me according to your Word."
What powerful words of faith! Thousands of years later and they still ring with such passion and strength. This is my prayer. This is my hope. This is worth believing in.
This is something that I don't mind getting excited about! There's nothing childish or ignorant about this kind of faith. Let it be to me! I am believing and hoping in something far more vibrant than the brightest star in the heavens.
Everything is hard before it's easy. Seriously. Even our first breath was painful and shocking, and was likely followed by several moments of crying and frustration!
Walking. Eating. Talking. All of these things are part of our everyday life. They are routine and habit. To accomplish any of them means very little, to us or anyone else. But all of them were quite challenging at one point! I'm positive that each of us failed miserably at all of these things before we mastered them.
I remember helping my little sister learn to ride a bike. Like all of us, there was SO MUCH emotion and fear and desire all wrapped up in this little learning experience. As a child, we all seem to dream of the day when we can ride independently, without training wheels. We are jealous of the "big kids" who can cruise along so smoothly and so fast! But time and time again, we all fell. We scrapped our knees, and possibly melted into a frustrated pile of tears. I know that I felt hopeless, like I was up against an impossible odd, and would surely never learn to ride my bike like a big kid.
Well, low and behold, I was wrong! I learned! So did my sister! So did the rest of us! And now it's comical to watch youngsters face the same challenge, and feel like failures over such a simple thing!
I think there is always somebody older and wiser that looks at my current frustrations and challenges and probably smiles as he thinks to himself, "one day he will learn, and all this will seem so petty and simple."
Maybe it's your job, or attempting to master a specific skill set. Perhaps it's learning to maneuver through various relational challenges. Or it could be the never-ending learning curve of faith as you try to grow in your knowledge of God and His ways.
Wherever you are, I'm sure someone has been there before. And I'm positive there is a way to learn and grow through it all.
I spoke with a gentleman this morning who was feeling rather hopeless about his ability to change and grow. He figured that my faith and stability in the Lord was due to my personality and my surroundings. This led him to believe that he could never have the faith and stability that I have, because he will never have my personality or upbringing.
But the wonderful thing is, our faith and ability to walk with God is not dependent on environment or personality. Our faith is something we learn, something we nurture and grow; something that could easily be second nature if we just don't give up on it's development.
Psalm 143:10 "Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness."
My heart and soul can be taught and instructed to live uprightly, to follow the will of the Lord. It's not up to whims, moods, feelings, happenstance, upbringing, personality or ANYTHING else! It's up to ME. Period. Following after the Lord is a learnable, attainable, realizable possibility. All I have to do is allow myself to be taught.
This walk of faith isn't meant to always be an uphill battle. Just like walking and talking: stick with it long enough and it will soon be a habitual, routine part of your everyday life.
Be willing to learn, to be trained. Don't give up! Don't be frustrated with your present lack of strength or understanding! Get back on that bike. Soon you will be cruising freely through a whole new world of God's goodness and uprightness, only to look back and laugh at how impossible it all once seemed.
Have you ever noticed how quick we are to doubt, or get discouraged, or give up? It's almost shocking. I've often found myself being whiplashed from mountain high to valley low in a matter of moments!
One moment, we can tackle the whole world! God is on our side, we are victorious! Faith is gonna move all these mountains! Our confession is strong, our hopes are high! We feel this unstoppable sensation of grace and possibilities upon our minds and bodies.
And then we make a little mistake. Something goes wrong. A plan falls through. Things begin to take a turn for the worse. And before you know it... our "faith" is shaken and we are in the doldrums again, beating ourselves up and feeling like failures. It's like bipolar, or dual personalities. Why do we find ourselves in such extremes?
How easily we are persuaded! Why do we so effortlessly forget that the WHOLE REASON we were excited in the FIRST place was because of GOD, not because of our imagination or planning skills.
Our faith and hope should never be built on our abilities, or our reputation. Many of us base our expectations on our own planning and foresight, or our own talents. And as finite human beings, that is sure to be an inaccurate and faulty foundation.
If I want to be a steadfast believer, unmoved and unshaken by the turning of the tides and altering of circumstances, then I must base my hopes on the Word of God, and that alone.
Christ alone is the solid rock on which we stand. His Word is sure and proven and eternal. If I can transplant my faith from the soil of my imagination to the soil of the Word of God... it will THRIVE. When my dreams and hopes are getting their nourishment from the Scripture, I can be sure they will be vibrant and possible. I can be confident that no matter how things shake down: my faith and hope will remain strong.
Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
I am to have FULL assurance that God has neither forgotten me, nor His promises to me. He has not brought me out this far to take me back again! God is not a master of plan B's and alternative options. No. He is a master of plan A. He is a God of completion. Of finishing. Of followthrough. He holds true and never breaks His word. He makes a way, where there is no way, to be sure His word comes to pass. He will part the waters, bring down the walls, send fire from heaven. No matter what the cost, His word will never fail or return void. My hope will not be deferred! It will happen.
My plans most likely will NOT happen. His, however, they are a sure thing. I'm empowered today to put down my roots and draw my hopes from the Word of God. I'm recalling what work God has begun in me, what His plans and intentions are. No matter how the situations and odds of life may seem, I am confident that the work of the Lord WILL continue successfully in and through me. That is an unshakable hope. We will not be let down or disappointed if we put our confidence in "this very thing."
I'm a dreamer. For as long as I can remember I wanted to change the world. My whole life has been a push to become bigger and better, to make things more impressive and effective. I've always had a drive to aspire to become all that I can be, an unstoppable desire to achieve and develop and do!
I wanted to bring hope to the world, bring purpose to the lost and confused. Everything within me wanted to better humanity and rescue the perishing. I was convinced that these were God-sized dreams, and not factions of my selfish imagination. Surely His heart beat for these same goals.
So I plunged confidently into driving these things forward. I was determined to make the most of my life. I fanned the flame of faith, passion and dreams and set about making them all possible. I applied all the grit and discipline and talent I could possibly muster.
But, low and behold, I soon realized most of these dreams and aspirations require money, or connections to specific resources. My gift-mix and personality won't take me very far. I could be the most talented painter on the planet, but without a canvas, some paint and a brush, I'm nothing. Resources are important.
After watching all my hopes and dreams crumble down to the poor, limited earth I live on, I began to switch my motivation. Suddenly I was striving for ways to get money, ways to get connected to influential people. My motor was still running, but rather than being compelled by the faith, dreams and purposes that God once deposited in me, I was now being motored by a desire to get resources.
I wanted cameras and money and publishers and producers. I wanted platforms and software and media. I wanted better communication skills, and a sharper mind and more attractive personality.
Little by little, my dreams became narrow and self-promoting. The passion inside of me was growing less noble by the day. And before you know it, even IF I HAD all the money and resources that I wanted, I had no message to give, no passion and purpose that anyone would want to see or hear.
That's a dangerous place that we can easily slip to if we don't guard our heart and keep our passions and intentions in check. I forgot that the whole reason I was originally after these resources and influence was because I loved the dying world around me, I cared for the lost and broken, and I wanted to make a difference! The dignity of my aspirations had melted into a popularity contest! How did this happen?!?!
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
I ended up focusing so much on the means that I lost touch with the end. I shifted from seeking first the "kingdom" to seeking first "all these things."
If we keep our eyes on the end or on the original purpose, and focus on that goal or dream, the means will present themselves. It is more important that we focus on keeping our hearts rich and deep, than focus on keeping our pockets rich and deep. Stay connected to the heartbeat of God, not the resources of man.
Stir up that noble passion and desire that God has called you to fulfill, and trust in the provisions and timing of His plan.
The cares of this world will burry you with worry and limitations. But the cares of the next with liberate you with faith and possibilities. Don't be bothered with the work of manufacturing human platforms for success. Rather, throw yourself into the purposes of Heaven and watch as you play a part in the changing of Earth.
I pray that today you can join me in revamping your devotion to the work of the ministry, and the Kingdom of God. Remember the powerful dreams and desires that God has deposited in you. And although the means (influence, money, connections, resources, talent, abilities, etc) are important, if you are consumed by the pursuit or focus on these, you will loose the kingdom. If you seek, as your highest priority, the kingdom, then all these means and resources will be yours for the taking.