I've debated about tossing this out into the fray, but it's a growing reality in my life, and I have a feeling that it's not unique to me; others of you I'm sure have faced the same issue.
Throughout my life I've served the church in just about every capacity you could name: janitor, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, fill-in preacher, board member (and chairman), building committee - the list goes on. I could do all those things, but I wasn't passionate about them. But then I discovered that the one thing I was passionate about was worship leading, and when I hit my 40's I thought I had finally found the one thing I do best in the Kingdom - leading worship. So I funnelled my energies into that, and to some degree found a measure of success...until recently.
In the past couple of years it is like God has slowly closed the doors on these opportunties and they just will not open. Instead, He has been opening a new direction. Basically I've felt the call to work with the poor and needy around the world using my skills in the areas of building, mechanics, teaching and communicating (through my writing). I am responding to that call, and for reference sake, you can read about it here: Mercy Tech Mission.
I'm excited about where this is taking me, but I wonder at times - was the certainty I felt about worship leading as my specific gifting a misguided thing? What's this about the callings of God being irrevocable? Has anyone else gone through this drastic change in focus thing?
Your thoughts would be most welcome.
I can really sympathise with this.
So often we hear God and think that what we are building towards is the vision that God has given to us, and then when the course changes we feel so terrible! As if we never heard god properly in the first place!
An analogy that may help, is like travelling down country roads with someone who knows the route perfectly. Along the way the directions will include "head towards X" but they are not the final destination, they are simply points that get us nearer to the final destination along the windy road of life. The road for each of us is different because we all need to grow, and be challenged in different ways, whilst avoiding sins and pitfalls that God helps us to bypass in his grace.
How strange that we feel frustration at times of confusion because we are falling short of "that thing" he's called us to, and forget that, being sovereign, he has called us to the right now. That he has called you to this confusion, because in his Grace and Mercy he wants to chasten, grow and display his strength in you. What amazing confidence does he want you to gain by learning to overcome this confusion?
I like your analogy of the road signs along the way to a greater destination. I think it's natural for us to want to know every turn in the journey, but God rarely shows Himself that way.
I recall a road trip I made last spring from Mozambique to Malawi, and had I known about the hassles (and cost!) of the border crossing, the bribing of the police at the main road block, of getting lost in the dark in Blantyre still miles from our destination, then I probably would have voted to stay home. But in the end, we survived and met some great people and saw amazing scenery.
As for gaining amazing confidence, sometimes I feel like I'm getting too old for this. If anything, confidence (in some things) is a commodity that is getting harder and harder to find. Which in a way makes it all the more amazing when God steps in and makes "it" work.
Okay, maybe this is the thing: How many of you are finding that as you progress in your Christian walk, you have more people coming up to you saying, "wow, you have such amazing faith" while deep inside you're not feeling that way at all? They see God leading while you see...dare I say, very little?
How many of you are finding that as you progress in your Christian walk, you have more people coming up to you saying, "wow, you have such amazing faith" while deep inside you're not feeling that way at all? They see God leading while you see...dare I say, very little?
You can put me on this list.
Just trusting my memory to type in my password seems like a great act of faith, all too often!
My role in music ministry requires me to say very little, and even so people think I have lots of faith. You must remember that every week we don our Eisenhower smiles for the purpose of encouraging the people, and perhaps encouraging ourselves so we can do so honestly. So that's the primary image people see.
Now it might be an interesting service to begin by slapping a few chords and then saying, "Folks, I think the world's caving in on me -- that sore I have on my hand hasn't healed in a month; maybe it's cancer." Will that provoke honesty before God or craven fear?
What's that old saying? Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?
Yes, we who inhabit the stage rarely show our everyday feelings. Our pastor just preached a sermon on the importance of having close friends you can open up to. In some ways, this forum is like that.
Hi Rick, was digging through some old e-mails and found this one that I sent on to my daughter. It is a poem done by Peter Irish, a great man of God in our congregation and a prolific poet. I thought it would help the thought processes here. You will see it was inspired by a message preached by one of our pastors Mike Tapera, I was there and it was an eye opener for me.
Our Gifts and Callings
Our gifts and talents great or small
Should not be mixed up with our call
We may have many arts and crafts
Or special skills for certain tasks
Abilities we didn’t seek
For God has made us each unique
But though our exploits may be fine
Our giftings shouldn’t us define
God has a purpose for us all
A destiny, a lifetime call
We must not then get led astray
Engrossed in what comes up each day
Not sidetracked like the average man
For up ahead God has a plan
Our gifts and skills if He controls
Will help us reach our purposed goals
Our calling then is our life’s aim
The reason to this earth we came
So don’t presume if well bestowed
Your talents are what you are owed
By only seeking earthly fame
And what comes with a famous name
You may forego the greater gain
And find you lived your life in vain
World soccer stars and great athletes
Display their aptitudes and feats
But what when crowds have gone away
And no one cheers for them to play
What is their purpose to exist
When no more on life’s stage they’re missed?
Gifts may be part, but not the whole
Some gain the world but lose their soul
The gifts we have are through God’s grace
Designed to suit the time and place
The stepping stones to reach our call
Not desert islands where we stall
For in the Father’s greater scheme
We stretch beyond our wildest dream
Don’t compromise your gift or skill
Fulfill your call to do God’s will
Peter Irish @Harare, Zimbabwe, October 2010
Dedicated to Pastor Mike Tapera who inspired
the theme in a recent sermon.
Thanks, Wilhelm. Great words.
Have just took some time passing through the Mercy Tech Mission page
and brother I know God has a lot in store for you for this great work you are doing.
I tell you be strong the LORD is with you and He who started this work in you will bring it to its completion.
Nice looking buildings.
My brother I will be praying for you and your colleagues.
God bless the works of your hands.