Everyone wants to get ahead in some area of their life; in their career, their job, their status, their finances, their schooling etc. One scenario is that we wait for the “perfect” time; never taking a leap and end up not taking a risk or really doing what we know was on our heart to do. Another scenario is that we strive to make something happen by compromising, and crawl and scratch our way to the top, leaving a trail of broken people as our ego gets in the way of common sense and good judgment.
Regarding ministry, I’m not sure what is harder: trying to get someone to go into ministry or trying to get someone to wait to go into ministry; both have their own challenges. What do I mean? People are sometimes afraid to do what God wants, to go where He wants, to say what He wants and so they wait. They wait until confirmation signs are written on metaphorical billboards proclaiming; “You are to go and do such and such”, signed GOD. Without a clear sign some people have come to their golden years still wondering when to get on the road and do what God wants.
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 8 Jesus is talking about the cost of discipleship and some were coming up with excuses as to why they needed to wait. “21Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22 NKJV). And so opportunity is missed and Jesus looks elsewhere for someone to go on His behalf.
Equally hard is when someone is so eager to serve God that they try to make things happen without God; seemingly forgetting John 15:5b where Jesus said; “without Me you can do nothing.” We are discontented with doing the seemingly small tasks and strive to doing something great for God. All of us have at one time or another let our ego get in the way and have forgotten that we are to love, serve, and represent HIM. The Bible says that “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV).
God calls us; we need to respond (no holding back or getting ahead) and trust that He will use us as He chooses. We simply need to trust that God will promote each one of us at the right time. The Apostle Peter addresses this in his first letter (1 Peter 5). I love Eugene Peterson’s translation from "The Message":
(V4-5) When God, who is the best shepherd of all, comes out in the open with His rule, He'll see that you've done it right and commend you lavishly. And you who are younger must follow your leaders. But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for— God has had it with the proud, But takes delight in just plain people.