It has been a little surprising to me how much the purchase of a new home can take of your concentration and time! Not only has this transaction been one of the main subjects on my mind over the last few weeks, but has also had the demand of much of my time and effort as well! My wife and I spent the entire afternoon on Wednesday at our new place and the nearby town of Fuguay-Varina as we had scheduled a couple of different home inspections throughout the day. I am finding that the more time we spend out there, the more I am convinced that we are in the center of God’s plan for us at this time in our lives! I really sense that this home is to be the center of the next phase of the calling and purpose that Papa God has for us.
And speaking of His plan and purpose… As I was getting ready for bed earlier in the week, I found myself thinking about a not-so-good health report that we had recently received concerning an on-going condition with a relative of my wife’s. As I stood there before the mirror brushing my teeth, I thought about all the remembrances I have since becoming closely involved with her family over 45 years ago. And I was saddened to realize that we have basically been left out of the direct loop to this current important event in the life of their family.
Throughout it all though, I have endeavored to stay in contact with them as I have felt that this is the way Piper would want it to be if she had more comprehension as to what was happening. I had come to the conclusion that it is just the right thing to do!
With that in mind, I stood before the mirror and simply asked the Lord “why?” Why do we keep reaching out to others when they do not respond to us? Why do we automatically attempt to make eye contact and share a positive greeting with those we meet on our daily walks around our neighborhood? Why do we try to encourage the cashier at the store who looks troubled, bored or like they really want to be somewhere else? Why do I write an encouraging blog three times a week? Or like the other day at our new house, stand there with a look of appreciation and attentiveness to the second inspector who was giving me the same exact explanation about the foundation of the home that we had just heard from an earlier inspector?
Then a bit of self-pity snuck in when I found myself thinking that even in the midst of the darkest times that we have endured in this adventure in faith with my wife’s health, that we have still reached out to relatives to help them better understand the situation and help build their faith to believe for God’s best for Piper.
And with all that swirling around in my brain, I shook my head, flipped off the light and headed off to bed! But you know… the Lord had an answer for me! The next morning when I opened up my Bible Study program, I felt led to move on in the book of Ephesians and clicked over to chapter four where I began to read. When I got down to verse eleven, things began to awaken in me as I read what Paul had to say in his explanation of the five-fold ministries established by Papa God for the good of the body of Christ.
Then with the reading of the twelfth verse in the God’s Word translation the spot light went on! Here it declares that “Their purpose is to prepare God’s people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ.” My answer to the previous night’s question was right there in front of my face. That memorable experience back in the late 1970’s, lying on that hard bunk in that drafty and smelly old cabin filled with sleeping Junior High boys from our youth group came vividly back to mind! For it was at that time that I clearly heard the voice of the Lord calling me into the ministry… to be an under shepherd of the head shepherd Jesus Christ.
When my thoughts re-focused on the Word before me I heard the Lord say: “That it is because I have called you to Pastor… and as a Pastor I have called you to serve those in need around you… no matter what their response is to you and your efforts! The S. Way 1906 translation of verses eleven and twelve defines the five-fold ministers as those “endowed” as ministers of the Gospel. (The Letters of St Paul to Seven Friends with the Letter to the Hebrews) A current definition of the word “endowed” in Dictionary.com explains it as: “to furnish, as with some talent, faculty, or quality; to equip.”
I will admit that I have felt a bit like being in the twilight zone since stepping down from my last position as an Associate Pastor at our church in California in order to devote my full efforts toward the care of my sweet wife. It seems like almost every time we meet someone new, like one of the home inspectors the other day, the subject always gets around to the question: “so… what do you do?” And after a pause I’ll say “I’m a Pastor… or at least I used to be!”
But as I read Ephesians 4:12 and rehearsed the words of the Lord to my inner man, I saw what He was trying to convey to me. Being a Pastor isn’t what I do… or what I’ve done… It is WHO I am! (or I should more accurately say who we are…) I guess you could say that it has been “hard wired” into Piper’s and my very beings. It is simply the way that we see and respond to the world we live in. We’ve been “hard wired” to equip, to serve and to build up the body of Christ as well as those in need that we come across in our daily walk! It is our second nature. It is almost like we just can’t help ourselves!
So...What about you? Do you know what you have been called and equipped to do and to be? Have you become at peace with your God given place on this earth? It is actually quite freeing to realize this reality and come to terms with WHO YOU ARE! In God’s eyes you are fully equipped to handle your world with the special gifts and talents… the endowments He has place inside of you! Don’t ever allow someone else to criticize or belittle who you have been made to be by Papa God! You are a unique and highly talented individual! So go out and face (and change) your world with WHO He has made you to be!
Have a great weekend! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to be - for and from Him - today?”