Now if this question is not overstepping the bounds of a short blog, I don’t know what is :). This is a question that causes us Christians perpetual confusion, doubt, and redefining throughout our lives. It is one of the meta-questions that needs to be asked when following the “know thyself” model of living. We usually seek to answer this question in the particular, having to do with God’s specific will concerning our ministry. It is a good question to ask.

Here is the way I approach this. I try not to think of it in terms of ministry per se, at least in the way ministry is defined today–what am I supposed to be doing in and for the Church–but in terms of why did God create me. Now, I don’t believe that God created us to glorify Himself as many people would put it (another blog), but to share of Himself and to have a relationship with us (although, not out of need–another blog). As well, I don’t think that God’s primary intent for us is to be engaged in ministry as it is so popularly thought of–evangelism, preaching/teaching, relationships with others, etc.–but to foster our relationship with Him through the simple act of having fellowship with Him, taking Him at His word.

I try to live according to what I call the 90/10 rule. Ninety percent of my life and focus is to be on my personal relationship with Him, while the rest gets ten percent. Ninety percent has to do with my daily walk, just Him and me, finding my greatest joy in His company. The ten percent involves everything else–family, work, friends, and ministry.

For those of you who ask the question “What is God’s will for my life?” and are tempted to find this primarily in your ministry “success,” I challenge you to look to Hebrews 11. It is often called the great “Hall of Faith” chapter where the writer of Hebrews does a panorama of Scripture looking at all the great people of the past and urges us to follow them in our walk. I often wonder who would make it into such a chapter were a new inspired “Hall of Faith” to be cataloged including only those who are alive today. Who do you think would make it? Billy Graham? Maybe. Chuck Swindoll? Possibly. Bono? Most definitely! (you know I had to get that one in). In reality, I think we miss the point and over evaluate what it took to make it into the “Hall of Faith” of Hebrews 11. We think in terms of ministry (the ten percent), not in terms of faith and relationship to God (the ninety percent). Really, I think that those who would make it into a contemporary “Hall of Faith” are the unknowns, who simply live their lives trusting in God. They may or may not have a significant ministry. They may or may not have won many people to Christ. They may or may not have done extraordinary things from our perspective, but from God’s perspective, they did the most extraordinary thing of all: took Him at His word, walking with Him on a daily basis.

Now lets look to some of our examples and look at how extraordinary there “ministry” really was (you might read Hebrews 11 first).

1. Abel (v. 4): No sermons taught, no books published, no influence upon others mentioned. He just worshiped God more truly than others.
2. Enoch (v. 5): No sermons taught, no books published, no influence upon others mentioned. He just walked with God.
3. Noah (v. 7): From our standpoint, a total failure in ministry. If he did preach, he was not very good since he did not have a single convert. What did he do? He simply believed what God said when He told him that a flood was coming.
4. Abraham (vv. 8-12): Now you might think that Abraham had a significant ministry, but read again. From a contemporary standpoint, there was no ministry to be found. No sermons taught, no books published, and no evangelistic crusades. He simply believed God when God said something. How simple is that? If Scripture did not record Abraham’s simple faith, he would have certainly been lost in obscurity.
5. Sarah (v. 11): Nothing. In fact, she seemed antagonistic to belief at the beginning, but then, in the end, she believed God when He promised her a child.

I could go on with the rest, but I will leave that to you. What you will notice is that all of these people (except possibly Moses) were just ordinary folk, trusting God on a daily basis. They did not make it into the “Hall of Faith” based upon the ten percent, but upon the ninety–they simply believed God. All of them would have been lost in obscurity had the Scriptures not recognized their quiet walk with God.

This is so simple. What is God’s will for your life? To fulfill what you were created for: walking with Him and believing what He says. As important as the ten percent is, it is completely irrelevant in comparison to the ninety. In fact, you cannot accomplish the ten percent without being focused on the ninety. I have seen so many ministries and families fail, because people mistook the ten percent for the ninty.

I know that the 90/10 rule that I have presented is not perfect (as all illustrations can only go so far), but it helps keep me in the right place. I most certainly don’t always follow by it as I should (in fact, this is rather therapeutic and self-serving right now), but it helps with my perspective and keeps me from getting to anxious about ministry, family, and all the other stuff that is so easy to put all your stock in. The ten percent may fall apart, but the ninety is always there, and no one can touch that. Therefore, if RMM were to somehow become an abysmal failure of a ministry, my mother were to stay an invalid for the next 20 years, Dad go to jail and die there, (all of my biggest fears I am facing today), it really is just a small percentage of what my life is supposed to be about. That gives me comfort.

So I tell people that we need to quit getting so bent out of shape trying to find God’s will in the uncertain ten, but in the established ninety.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    1 Response to "What is God’s Will for My Life: The 90/10 Rule"

    • ounbbl

      If I rephrase the noun phrase ‘Will of God’ as a verbal phrase ‘God wants for us to do’, unless I am mistaken, we don’t have to go further than 1The 5:16-17 thanking for all things, find things to thank for; do rejoicing and find joy in all things we do; be in communication line open to God to receive our bread from above every day.

      You are not asking about God’s opinions about our own planning and scheming, etc., are you?

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