For over 30 years I’ve watched many of God’s people set aside or put down their God given-purpose/gift/assignment (whatever you want to call it). And often because they encountered religiously motivated church leaders who wrongly presumed the “gifted” person had come into their church to serve the leaders “vision”, which turned out to be nothing more than a manmade vision.
There are prophets and evangelists, musicians and singers, writers and teachers, apostles and pastors, preachers and all kinds of other gifted people who have extraordinary calling upon their life sitting in pews across America every week, yet doing very little with their gift/call because they’ve been convinced to stay in a little/small place.
Sometimes they’ve been told loyalty to man is the honorable thing (the Bible calls this idolatry). Sometimes they’ve been told serving another is the way God will “discover them”. Sometimes they’ve been missed/dismissed/set aside because of the “packaging” they turned up in. Sometimes, sheer discouragement exists because they’ve been told “No, I don’t see this on you”, “Not good enough”, or “We need someone younger/older/more educated/less educated…”
This has resulted in great spiritual impotency in the church and great disillusionment for those whose fruit is ripe but rotting because it’s sitting on the vine, uneaten, unused, not given to the greater body of Christ for its upbuilding.
I often think/pray, with pain, “How many have gone to their grave, God, unfulfilled?”
“Impotence” because spiritual power is from God and is given as a blessing upon people who walk together in unity with absolute devotion to the very will and purpose of God. (Where devotion/loyalty is given to man, there is only man’s glory and effort —impressive as this can be, after all, we have sent people to the moon.)
“Rottenness” because fruit that is left on the vine rots. Bitterness can result between people in this situation and this blocks unity and God will not bless disunity or factions between people in a church(es).
In my immediate three-block neighborhood there are over twenty people who have had this kind of church experience. They’ve been turned off God because they realized they were being used by a man who claimed to represent God. Church leaders will have to give account for this. (I am a church leader and I don’t say this lightly.)
In the HouseFires song, Good Good Father, there is a line, “Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like, but I know the tender whisper of Love in the dead of night…”
There are thousands of people/leaders who will happily have you do their will, happily have you live in service to their vision. There are many more thousands of people who serve. Disillusionment results when you realize not every one of these “visions” originated in God, nor do they honor God.
It is only the silent (still and small) whisper of God that can breathe life and purpose into you. The place of intimacy with the Lord is also the place of complete loving obedience to Him. Only in INTIMACY with Him are you going to be fulfilled and discover (some rediscover) your God given identity and purpose. You were created for this.