In 1998, an author by name of Spencer Johnson wrote the book, Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, a marvelous book that addresses fear, complacency, pride, slothfulness, denial, irresponsibility, blaming, along with other attitudes and emotions that hinder us in the quest for the fulfillment of our goals and destinies. It offers suggestions to overcome these attitudes and emotions, so that we are able to enjoy or endure the journey and processes along the way.
For me, the process of “moving the cheese” in ministry took a particular appearance. I imagine a hamster on a wheel with a bit of cheese just out of its reach, as it runs and runs, day in and day out, until it wearies and stops trying or just dies in the process. I have seen and experienced demonically influenced “moving of the cheese” in ministry. My heart goes out to all who have been faithful in ministry, doing all your leaders instructed, only to continually arrive at the place of reward and discover they have moved the goal and the fulfillment of their promise, and added more to do before the reward is given.
Our God is God, and He can do whatever He desires (because He alone knows what is best for us). We must know; however, tormenting a faithful soul with empty promises is not of His character, nature, or heart (2 John 1:2)!
My Own Experience
As a member of a particular church, I served, taught, and ministered in many capacities and areas, proving a faithful minister for more than a five-year period. I recall attending a two-year ministerial training class wherein students were told by our leaders that licensure would follow. At the end of the two-year period, the leaders informed the class that an additional six months service in an area of the ministry was required for licensure. They moved the cheese!
Many in the class were shocked seeing that they had attended the church for years, and served in many areas of ministry during their membership. One young man spoke up indicating he had attended the church for ten years and had served in many areas (proving faithful) for the entire time. (He has been in minister’s training for seven years!) I recall we looked at one another and realized no one in the group would be licensed and the goal (cheese) would continue to be moved.
It was after this encounter that we discovered:
No one, who was NOT famous, well to do, or well-connected had been licensed or ordained in several years, and those that were, were licensed incognito! Such dealings are offensive to our God who has no respect of person (Acts 10:34).
Proverbs 20:23 (NLT) The Lord detests double standards; He is not pleased by dishonest scales.
Ultimately, I forgave them and decided my time had not been wasted. I knew God called me, not man, and if He was going to use me, I would have to depend on Him to do so. I make it sound simple; however, my flesh had to be crucified and my attitude dealt with by God. I was angry and woefully discouraged initially. Having trusted and served our leaders who taught us to be humble, honest and forthright, I never imagined they would deal with us dishonestly and underhandedly. They moved the cheese, and had done so for years!
The Doors Darkness Uses
Over the years, I have discovered such things happen because of fear. Leaders whose actions divided other’s ministries sometimes carry the fear that others might do the same to theirs. Sin and Saul-like pride causes some leaders to fear that a David may come up among their ranks. Many faithful men and women of God have remained planted in soil that was not conducive to their growth and fulfillment of their destinies. **I speak of individuals who are faithful to serve God, with the attitude and heart of Jesus Christ**
Some members of the Body of Christ, though saved, are carnal, manipulative, rebellious, full of pride, and zealous without knowledge. For any of us who operate in these mentalities and resist change (genuine repentance), our All-knowing God allows our own willfulness to open doors of frustration that lead to disqualification, until we come to the end of ourselves and the hard, stiff-necked, resistant carnal shell that covers the genuine seed of righteousness is broken. Then He allows us to find the full, new, and abundant supply of cheese, because He knows we will be good stewards and follow His lead.
Spiritual Common Sense lets us know,
moving the cheese, apart from God, is fleshy and demonic!
The truth that these leaders lied is bad enough; the thought they would waste a human being’s “time” (a precious resource that cannot be restored without God), while using them to fulfill their “vision” is frightening.
The Scripture tells us our fruit identifies our tree (Luke 6:44). The Scripture also says the workman is worthy of his hire (1 Timothy 5:18). Many of these students were working and bearing the fruit of the call to ministry and should have received proper training and opportunity. Jesus did these things with His disciples; therefore, even though these leaders and others may feel justified, they are in err!
First, Jesus would not have lied and used the people (deception/witchcraft/manipulation). He would have been honest with EACH student; He would have honestly given EACH student the requirements AND methods to reach the goals, AND then fulfilled their promise, once EACH student arrived (John 21:15-19).
Secondly, Jesus would not have secretly “given” the promise to the attractive, noble, famous, or the rich (according to the flesh). The Scripture plainly states our God uses those who are rejected by humanity’s standard to get His great work done, so no man can legitimately boast, for any reason (1 Corinthians 1:25-29).
The Apostle Paul follows Jesus The Christ’s lead
The Apostle Paul instructs believers in Corinth to follow him, as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). He obviously utilized Jesus’ example as he succession planned with Timothy, Titus and others.
Jesus choose the Twelve to mentor (up close and personal). He trained and released them (in the care of the Heavenly Father) to do the work of the ministry and further the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke Truth, as He taught the disciples, the seventy, and the multitudes, under the direction of our Heavenly Father, without respect of person, and withholding only that which could not be borne by the hearers (John 16:12). Anything less is not of God.
A Word of Caution
My personal experience does not represent reality for all. There are situations where “moving the cheese” is necessary and justifiable in the eyes of God, but He will unction us to be forthright when doing so. However, if you find yourself in a situation where goals (with rewards) have been set before you, and the goals continue to change as you honor God and reach them, it is time to seek the mind of our God.
It is not God’s will for any of us to go around and around in circles without ever reaching our promised land. (When I say “us”, I speak of a person who is obedient to do God’s will with the right attitude.) We may be gifted, anointed, and appointed, but it means little if we do not have the mind of our Christ:
Philippians 2:6-10 (KJV) 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Our God, who provided the lighted path to our cheese through His character, His Word (Scripture/Jesus), His Holy Spirit) has promised:
1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
Our God loves us too much to torment or toy with us! When He allows struggle and pain, it is for the crucifixion of the flesh, which always precedes the resurrection of His sons, so that others will see and seek Him out.
Psalm 84:11 (AMP) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace, and favor, and honor; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
We must trust and believe that our God will not forget our right heart and labor of love towards Him. His promises have already been spoken and His Word does not return void to Him or to those who believe on Him.
Spiritual Common Sense
Our God is not trying to hold us back:
3 John 1:2 (AMP) Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health (physically), just as I know your soul prospers spiritually.
It is the will of our God that we prosper holistically and enjoy good health to the measure that our souls (mind, will, and emotions) grow in the knowledge of our God and His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2-8; 3 John 1:2). It does not make spiritual common sense for God to commission someone to minister the Gospel, and then make him/her jump through unnecessary “natural” hoops, in order to fulfill a supernatural call.
Our God knows what He is doing , and He is the Wise Investor; He always gets His dividends, even if He has to transfer the talents (anointing) to someone who will make good use of their gifting/call (Matthew 25:14-30). I have not known an individual with a genuine call of God, who did not suffer some form of discomfort until the answer to God was yes. It is shameful that after they accept the call, people (leaders) who should help and train you, toy with their lives instead. Our God is not pleased with unjust weight of such activity in ministry (Proverbs 20:23).
Is Your Cheese being moved?
If this happening to you, please seek the mind of God; ask Him to show you anything in you that is hindering your progress. You could be locked in a holding pattern until you humble yourself to follow His mind and will, rather than your own. Trust Him to show you. Then be humble and fearless enough to allow HIM (the Master Potter) to remold you as needed.
If you have allowed God to examine you and He declares you faithful in your service in a ministry and this is happening to you repeatedly, it is time to ask HIM if your season has ended, or if you are in the right soil. Trust Him to show you. Then be humble and fearless enough to allow HIM (the Master Potter) to remold or replant you if and as needed.
IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF ALLOWING DARKNESS TO USE YOU TO HINDER, SHIPWRECK, OR DELAY THE SPIRITUAL PROGRESS OF ANOTHER, PLEASE REPENT, DO NOT TAKE THIS SIN INTO JUDGMENT (I Timothy 5:24).
Matthew 23:13 (AMP) “But woe, judgment is coming to you, self-righteous scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are in the process of entering to do so.
There is much work to do in the kingdom. Remember, if we confess our sin, our God is faithful and just to forgive us and CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUS. HE will change us if we believe and allow Him to do so.
We love You and appreciate Your patience and longsuffering. We repent for allowing ourselves to be used of satan to hinder, shipwreck, or delay the spiritual progress of those around us. Forgive us for attempting to use Your grace to cover sinful attitudes and ways. We want to be used of You.
We lay our lives on the altar of Your love, asking that You breathe on us afresh. Open our understanding, even the more, of Your Truth, Your ways, Your heart, mind, and will. Thank You for teaching us prudence, your spiritual common sense. Speak Father; move Father. Your servants are watching and waiting.
Thank You for transforming us into Your beloved friends. Thank You for teaching us until You are able to tell us show us what You are doing. We are ready to lay down our lives for You. We are ready and willing to do whatsoever You command. You chose us; You ordained us that we should go and bring forth fruit, and our fruit remain. We are ready and willing.
Thank You for teaching us Your spiritual common sense so that we do not speak and ask amiss. Thank You for working with and in us, until we reach the spiritual maturity wherein we ask You “whatsoever” in Jesus name, and You give us what we ask for. We thank You for the help of Your Holy Spirit to love You, ourselves, and others.
You have declared us to be the planted of the Lord. As we humble ourselves to do Your will, thank You for planting us in our larges places, far away from the “moving of our cheese”, to the place that we can stretch out and grow to our fullest potential in You.
Do all that is in Your heart, today and everyday, in Jesus name we pray. We believe we receive; therefore, we say, “Amen, amen, and amen.”