“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:8).
Jesus took captivity captive, which means that the former restrictions on your life — the voices that have told you that you are not smart enough or talented enough, the negative words that have been spoken over you — are all gone. You are now a new creation in Christ and you have a unique calling.
This unique calling on each of our lives will inevitably lead us to places where we do not have the natural strength to go in order that Christ might be glorified through it all. That is why he “gave gifts to men.” In other words, we are each given exactly what we need in order to fulfill his purpose in our lives.
As a young pastor in Canada, I was determined to win the whole world to Christ! I set out with a passion to do what I felt needed to be done, fasting, praying, and traveling extensively to minister. In doing so, I completely depleted my physical strength by the time I was thirty-seven years old. God lovingly but definitely showed me that when I stand before him one day, there will be no reward for things he did not ask me to do. He wanted me to be responsible for the small congregation I was entrusted with — all one hundred and fifty-eight of them. He made it clear to me that their walk with God was my main responsibility. That day I declared, “Lord, for the rest of my life I will serve you where you plant me and not look beyond what you have given me to do.” A great joy came into my heart and my physical strength began to return.
Remember, God has strategically placed you exactly where you are. You do not have to be great in the eyes of men. Just serve well and trust him daily for the grace to fulfill all his purposes for your life — up until the very moment you stand before his throne and hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord!” (see Matthew 25:23).
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.