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  • Lina Cole

My Salvation, My Portion

As someone who is called to ministry, an actual ministry seems important to be fulfilled and feel that you are doing God’s will for your life. However, we are not promised we will have a ministry or that we will always be able to use the gifts the Lord has given us and the knowledge we have gained during training. Well, that is the season I am in… a person called to ministry without a ministry.


The Lord has blessed me with a loving husband in November of last year, and I am immensely grateful for such a blessing. With marriage, however, lots of things change, and for me one of those things was ministry. As a couple, we believe that we need to attend to the same church, and that meant a transition for me. I had been a worship leader at a Hispanic church for four years and I was serving the Lord with the gifts He had given me and using the training I was getting at college. But the transition meant leaving my ministry and position behind. About the same time, I started my Master of Divinity in Worship Leadership, and to focus on school, I stopped working as a part-timer at school. Again, this was and is a huge blessing. I had never had the chance to focus on school only, and the Lord provided for this to happen. However, that meant leaving the other place where I was using my gifts and doing ministry on campus.


This season has been one of transition for me, and with that I faced an identity crisis. I started doubting why I was in seminary training in theology and music because I couldn’t use what the Lord was teaching me right at the moment. I started longing for a leadership position and envying those who had one, including my husband… and it was then when I knew my heart was in the wrong place and I repented of my sin.


Through this season, the Lord showed me the reason of my idleness when it came to ministry. He wanted to work on my heart and showed me two hard truths that today I would love to share with you.


The first truth is:


We need to rejoice in our salvation, rather than in our ministry.

Luke 10:17-20 says, "The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!' And he said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'"

In this passage, Jesus had sent 72 disciples to proclaim the news of the Kingdom of God and to do wonders where they went. When they came back, they were rejoicing in their deeds, but Jesus told them to rejoice in their salvation.


J. I. Parker puts it this way in Rediscovering Holiness:

“Rejoice in your salvation. Rejoice in what you are by the grace of God, rather than in the way God uses you. Rejoice in being his children, and in entering upon your destiny of being transformed into [Christ’s] image.”


This passage taught me that my joy should not be based on whether God is using me greatly or using me at all. My joy is found in my salvation. In Psalm 51:12, the Psalmist reminds us to ask God to restore our joy of our salvation and to uphold us with a willing spirit. It is good for us to ask the Lord to restore our joy because we tend to place our joy in material and temporal things rather than in our eternal salvation we have in Christ. I know back then my heart was full of pride because I thought, “surely God wants and will use me. I serve him with all I am.” But the Lord, gently, showed me my pride and taught me that He does not need me. He does not need the songs I write. He does not need my “creative” mind. He does not need my leadership. And I should not need these things to have a joyful heart... I should not focus my joy and fulfillment of life on ministry because it can be taken away at any moment. My joy should be in the fact that my name is written in heaven and that fact is never going away.


The second truth is that:


We need to desire more of God, rather than a ministry of our own.
Luke 10:38-42 says, "Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'"

Jesus comes to the house of Martha and Mary, and Martha is busy serving them. She complains to Jesus about Mary not helping her. But the Lord tells her that Mary’s priorities were in the right place. She had chosen the good portion that no one could take away from her. Mary did not choose the option of being the one that served Jesus, nor she chose the one that received all the good and helpful blessings from Jesus.... She simply and joyfully chose Jesus.


One day at home, I was singing a song based on Psalm 73, and I couldn’t bring myself to sing the line “Whom have I in heaven but you, there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” I knew deep down that I was desiring a ministry and a position more than what I was desiring God, and that was why my identity suffered when I no longer had a ministry or a position…I repented and asked God to forgive me.


The Psalm continues and says, “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” He is my portion! I remember declaring that “in every season, you are the blessing, Jesus you are my reward” (Blessed by Vertical Worship). He is my joy, and no one can take Him away from me.


Our jobs, ministries, and service opportunities can be taken way at any moment. But our relationship with God is ours forevermore. God wants us to serve the church and use the gifts He gave us. But above all, He wants us to desire him more. Service cannot take the place that belongs only to God… that would be idolatry. We cannot find our worth in the name of "I'm the one who serves," but rather we find our worth in the name of "I'm the one whom the Father loves and saved." Ministry is not what defines us… Our relationship with God is what defines us. We are his children, and He is our Father, our portion, and our reward.


Have you chosen the good portion?

That is a question that I had to face, and I praise the Lord for showing me that my heart was not in the right place.


I pray this testimony gives you encouragement if you are in the same season I am in. And if you are not, I hope you still ask yourself that question and start (or continue) to rejoice only in the salvation you have in Christ.


I want to leave you with a song by Vertical Worship called “Blessed.” It’s based on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, and it encourages us to seek the Lord as our only reward.



Blessed by Vertical Worship


Blessed are the poor in spirit

Blessed are the one in need

For every thirst and every hunger

You are everything


Blessed are the worn and weary

Blessed are the ones who grieve

In every moment unexpected

You are everything


CHORUS

To seek You is to find You

And to know You is to want You

And I want nothing more than You

To see You is to love You

And I can't believe I get to

And I want nothing more than You


Blessed it is the mercy giver

Blessed it is the way of peace

I will trust Your heart and hand

You are everything

Yes, I will trust Your heart and hand

You are everything


BRIDGE

Take this world and give me Jesus

Take this life and give me Yours

In every season You are the blessing

Jesus, You are my reward

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About Me

Hey there! I'm Lina Cole. 

I am a writer, songwriter, and singer. I have served as a worship leader, bible teacher, and writer and editor for different ministries and churches. 

I have a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance, and I am currently working on my Master of Divinity in Worship Leadership at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

My prayer is that the Lord uses my writings and songs to bring His Word to people who need it and are blessed by it.

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