By Michael McEwen
Clayton King called for those in ministry to heed the example of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 when ministry becomes inundating.
King is the founder and president of Crossroads Worldwide and teaching pastor at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. Preaching since the age of fourteen at prisons and churches, King spoke to the attendees of chapel on Thursday at Southeastern Seminary.
First giving thanks to the many friends in chapel who had influenced him, King then asked for the visitors, students, faculty, and staff to open their Bibles to 1 Kings 19 to hear the Word of the Lord. Focusing particularly upon the first nine verses of the chapter, King’s message was entitled, “When you want to quit.”
He opened, “If you’re not wanting to quit on a regular basis, you’re not in ministry.” King commented on the serious and burdensome matters of a holistic ministry. Those who are doing the ministry of Christ, said King, will become overwhelmed and dispirited in kingdom work. The inevitable temptation for pastors, leaders, or members partaking in the ministry is to give up and quit, but Elijah’s example, King assured, is to inform leaders and members alike of the great hardships and responsibilities in ministry.
After contextualizing 1 Kings 19 with Elijah’s recent battle with the priests of Baal (in 1 Kings 18), King noted, “It is a heavy burden to preach the gospel to all peoples. When you want to quit, my first point comes from Elijah himself: we must get away.” Illustrating this point from verses two to three, King said, “Sometimes we just have to get away from our circumstances. People will suck your soul dry, and that’s okay as long as you pace yourself. Getting away is a spiritual discipline.”
Similar to the discipline of getting away, King observed that those in ministry must also be willing to get alone. “I think,” King said, “one of the reasons why we’re commonly afraid of being alone today is because we might be afraid of what God would say to us while we’re alone.”
King noted that while one is alone before the omniscient God he or she must also be willing to be honest before the God who knows all things. “God already knows your situation,” King said to the chapel, “so we must take time to acknowledge where we are, but also we must find rest while we’re away and alone.” Gleaning these matters from verses five and six, King invited the attendees to honestly seek the Christ who has loved the world through his life and death, and truly rest in him to build the kingdom.
King concluded his message with an invitation to seek the great rest and finished work of Christ, who feeds and nourishes the ministry of the church: “Once we rest in our Savior and his work we will be called to get up by him, like Elijah in verses seven to eight. We will be told, after our rest, to arise from the food God has provided and finish the ministry he has called us to.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.