By Apostle Richard Wright
I keep seeing Scriptures that we have taught the sheep for years now also applying to the shepherds. In fact, they should have always applied to the shepherds (five-fold ministers), but it has been implied by many shepherds that it was meant for the sheep only. One of the Scripture verses that I first saw this way was Hebrews 13:17, which says “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” There is nothing to indicate to us that this was meant for the sheep only, but we sure pounded this home while many shepherds did not apply this to themselves.
Genesis 2:7-8 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”
Another Scripture that I am being dealt with for the Church today is the passage above. We know that we all have a purpose, and that purpose must be God’s purpose and not our own. We teach that to fulfill the purposes of God, we must be planted (placed) where God wants us. As you can see in the above Scripture, the first thing that God did after He created man was to prepare a place for him and then He placed him there. This does not only apply to which church we are in, but also to whom God places us together with. This could mean our organization, our network, and our friends. We have all made some mistakes in this area primarily because we only saw the “placements of God” as applying to the sheep. See verse eight again: When God finishes “forming” us in this restoration of five-fold ministry, then He “places” us. This “divine placement” will lead to the reformation of the Church because He not only places sheep where He desires, but also five-fold ministries. These five ministries must work together as a team for the purposes Jesus intended. We will need to know where and with whom we will work as a team. Therefore, we must know the absolute will of God and make an everlasting covenant in the place where God places us. Once we recognize this is of God, our responsibility is to obey the Lord in every aspect of His purposes for placement. Adam did not remain in the place that God had prepared for him bec ause he was disobedient to God’s instructions and obviously did not understand the purposes of the Lord.
Many times in ministry we get so involved with our own vision, goals, ministry, or schedules that we do not readily see the purposes of God for where He places us.
Psalm 68:6 (Amp) says, “God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” He gives us families so that we are no longer alone. I am not speaking of the natural families that we have, but the family of God in which He has placed us. This family is a “covenant family”, and that is what makes it unique. The world enters into covenant relationships with an attitude of “if it doesn’t work to my benefit, I’ll divorce myself from the covenant and pull out”.
The Hebrew word for “placed” is “suwm” or “siym” and carries the following definitions: “To put, place, set, appoint, ordain, establish, found, determine, fix, station, set in place, plant.” It also means “To transform into, constitute, fashion, bring to pass.”
Now, let’s look into some New Testament Scriptures.
Please read I Corinthians 12:12-18 and then reread verse 18 which says, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”
The Greek word for “placed” is “tithemi” and carries the following meanings: “To set, put, place, fix, establish, ordain”. In other words, His desire is to not only put His Body together His way, but to also fix (which carries a meaning of “glue”) and to establish (firmly plant and build a reputation) and to ordain (to arrange unalterably and to give authority).
I firmly believe that God does not always give us a choice in His decisions. We believe that the Church is not democratic in its government, so neither should the ministry be. When He calls and chooses and places and plants us, it is not our responsibility to say “why?”, but many times we do. There are times when the Lord should not be asked to explain His every move. We do not always need to know the reason that He does what He does. We only need to say “yes sir” and obey. God does not do anything without purpose.
We must remember this Scripture well, John 15:16,"YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should REMAIN, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”
Now, let’s bring this on into the five-fold. 1 Corinthians 12:28 says, “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” When we look at what man has appointed or placed in the Church and then see what God placed there, we most often see a contradiction. In most instances, we do not have a choice. The Lord does not seek a vote of our opinions. He does not even ask us if we feel that we are compatible. According to the passage in I Corinthians 12 that we looked at, He often places us together with those who are quite different from us. He sees the differences as making up for what another lacks. He just bluntly tells us that if we were all “seers”, then we could not hear a thing nor could we transport what we saw anywhere as we would have no feet. I love the simplicity of the Bible. Man complicates it through theology and other neat religious thinking. The religious mind sees the differences as faults and challenges to their beliefs.
Now, let’s whittle this down to one individual. 2 Timothy 1:11 says “... for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher...” I have heard many, many Christians, both saints and ministries, read this Scripture and say “Paul was three of the five”. He was a pastor, an apostle and a teacher. So, was he confused as to his placement in the Church? Does this Scripture mean that we can be whatever we choose and when we choose to be? There are some ministries who call themselves “Pastor” when they are home and then when they travel, they call themselves “Prophet” or “Apostle”. Perhaps we have become schizophrenic when it comes to knowing to what we have been called, ordained, set into, placed into, etc.
There are too many Scriptures that we read in which we see that Paul states that he was called as an apostle to take this one Scripture and say that it means that he was three of the five. The word translated here as “preacher” (note that it does not say “pastor”) is the word “kerux” and does not mean “shepherd”, but means “herald”. Scripture also tells us that one qualification of an elder is “able to teach”. All elders, all five ministries, should be able to teach. This qualification alone does not make one a five-fold teacher. We must know our placement that comes from the Lord and give ourselves to that. This does not mean that we cannot exercise any other gift, but simply means, for example, that we can win souls for Christ without being a five-fold evangelist.
What would the Church be like today if all of God’s people were in the place or the relationship that God has prepared for us and stayed there until God might move us?
Now go with me to I Kings 17:1-9. For the sake of space, I will ask you to turn there and read this passage before going any further. This is my favorite passage when teaching on the provision of the Lord.
Here we have Elijah in a place of drought. He knew that because he prophesied it. God then tells him that he needs to be placed somewhere else in order to receive provision. If Elijah were a modern charismatic, he would have said something like, “Lord, my family is here. My job is here and all of my friends, so couldn’t you just send me your provision here and save me a move?” Yes, God could have done that if that was His desire and plan. But God’s plan was to place Elijah elsewhere. God promised him water and two meals a day. (Anytime God provided for His people in Scripture, He only fed them breakfast and dinner, never lunch. “Three meals a day” must have been invented by a restaurant owner.)
So Elijah obeyed God and prospered. After a while, though, his brook dried up and God had to place him elsewhere for provision. Sometimes our brook dries up when those who were to provide for us get “funny” on us, fall, or just simply enter into disobedience and God in His faithfulness will move us into another place for our provision. Jesus told His disciples in the tenth chapter of Matthew, (paraphrase mine) “If the city into which you go does not provide for you, shake the dust off your sandals and leave”. This is not a message on “leaving” anything, but a message on knowing the placement , calling, establishing, ordaining, appointment of God for our lives. When we know, then we come together and make covenant to let the Lord know that we know His placement. We make the covenant “until death do us part” (natural or spiritual) and not “until disagreements do us part”. Elijah had to be where God put him in order to receive His provision.
The people of God are so easily offended today that many ministries have stopped telling the Church the truth in order not to offend. We must remember that God has called those of us in five fold ministries to walk together as examples to others. We are called to be examples in the restoration of godly relationships and how they work, even in times of disagreement. This means that we must practice those principles of God with each other that we teach our flocks to practice. Any and all offenses must be immediately confronted and settled. We must ask the Lord to deal with us if we are one of those who are easily offended.
So, can we make decisions to “place” anything in our lives? Acts 19:21 “ Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed (placed) in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." Notice where Paul placed this thought; not in the flesh, but in the spirit. Our placements are not derived from the desires of our flesh, but from submitting them to Holy Spirit.
Finally, look at Deuteronomy 1:8 with me...“See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them.” There is much land that the Lord has placed before us in our time and we must go in together and possess it. The Church has not walked this way in a long time and we will have to work (W.O.R.K.) out the wrinkles along the way.