I think. A lot. It doesn’t really matter what the subject is, I think about it.
There’s just one problem.
Sometimes I can think too much.
A few years ago, I wrestled with whether or not I would go into ministry. I thought about it constantly. It consumed me. I had a hard time focusing on anything. My job performance suffered. I was miserable. I needed to make a decision. Instead, I drew it out.
Obviously, I needed to think this thing through. However, the more I thought about it, the more I was stuck not making a decision.
The problem with thinking too much is what it causes in my life and in many other’s lives.
It causes paralysis. Paralysis by analysis.
Sometimes we need to be decisive. Make our decision. Go for it. Do it. It may be the wrong one, but it’s really not something we can’t recover from. Mistakes happen. Wrong decisions are made. We learn from them and move on.
Will Rogers said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
I went to a church for years wanting to make a change. I wouldn’t make a decision at all. I thought about it all the time. I got to the point where I almost hated going to church. I begged the Lord to let me leave. I never got an answer. I needed to make a decision one way or the other. I decided to finally stay. Soon after that, the Lord painfully removed me from that church. Now, I’m happier than I’ve been in years.
We’re going to make mistakes. It’s ok. We can live with it. What we can’t live with is thinking so much that we don’t make any decision at all. We have to do something. Just do it and it will be ok.
Have you ever been guilty of thinking too much? Did you need to make a decision and couldn’t pull the trigger?
Occasionally I see a question pop up. Perhaps I hear it in some conversation that I am having or overhear. Maybe it’s in a blog post, a tweet or a Facebook status. That part doesn’t really matter.
The question that I run across is this: Should I work for a faith-based company?
There are several variations of this that I hear. Should I enter ministry? Should I go to the mission field? Should I go to seminary and become a preacher?
Sometimes, though, I think there is another question at the heart of what many of them are asking.
Is what I am doing enough for the Lord?
I think many of us get on fire for Jesus and think we are wasting our lives away in our occupations. We think there is no Godly good in being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. We wonder if our lives amount to anything in the normal, ordinary drudgery of a “regular” job.
I know. I was there.
In 2001, I left a job that I had been at for almost five years. I had worked my way up in the company. I was on a path to success.
It wasn’t good enough. I had to be a preacher. I had to go to seminary. I just knew that I had to be a pastor.
So, I went to seminary. For one whole year, I went to seminary and took the classes. I did pretty well in school. I had the 8:00 a.m. Greek class. I took the theology classes. I learned church history.
I also worked three jobs. I worked at UPS sorting packages. I delivered newspapers. I worked at a running store. I killed myself for an entire school year.
Then I left. I couldn’t take it anymore. My family and I came home. I was burned completely out. It was the hardest year of my life.
Since then I have returned to my former employer. I have been fairly successful. I have also preached at a campground for a solid ten years. There are untold ministry opportunities within my church. The Lord is going to show those He has planned for me in His own time.
I don’t need to work for a faith-based company. I don’t have to. I simply need to work in the company and the church my faith in Christ leads me.
Is what I am doing enough for the Lord? Never. It never could be. It doesn’t have to be.
What He did on the cross is enough. Everything else is pure gravy.
Do you ever think you should work for a faith-based company? Or enter ministry? Have you considered you have been planted in the mission field God intended for you?
Yesterday, I suggested that many of us simply do not know who we are. More to the point, many of us who follow Christ do not know who we are in Christ in our lives. Paul gives us a glimpse in the salutations of his letters that he knew exactly who he was. Yesterday, I explored that Paul was a bondservant of Christ, a willing slave to the Lord. Today, I want to discuss his calling.
Paul says that he was called as an apostle. In fact, if we looked deeper into his life, Paul would say that he was set apart before birth to be an apostle of the Gentiles. I find that amazing that, in retrospect, Paul sees that God chose him before he was even born for the task that was before him. What are we to glean from this? God was uniquely interested in each of us before we were born. I don’t think this was simply designated for a few guys like Jeremiah or Paul or anyone else that we think are spiritual superstars.
Dig into what Paul says though. He was called. He had a calling. Yes, it was dramatic. He was knocked off his horse and blinded on the Damascus Road, but he was called nonetheless. A lot of us probably think Paul jumped right into the apostleship game. That’s not correct. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of fourteen years before he ever began his missionary journeys. He spent time away from Jerusalem. He spent time in the local church. He learned. He proved himself. Then the Holy Spirit and the church selected him and Barnabas to hit the road.
We need to realize that we have a calling. We are uniquely gifted. And it may take time to ultimately get to where and what God is calling us to. We could even look at Mark. He failed. He failed Paul and Barnabas. He was to them like Yoko Ono was to the Beatles. Yet later he was fruitful to Paul’s ministry. He wrote a Gospel. It just took time to get to realize his calling.
Finally, he was called to a specific role. He was called to be an apostle. Not many were. Others were called to do other things. Yet Paul did not consider his calling to be higher than anyone else’s. He was still a bondservant of Christ. He simply wanted to fulfill the role that God gave him so that he could glorify Christ.
Who are you?
Yesterday the Gideons showed up at my church. Actually, not all of them were there. Only one of them was there.
This reminded me of when I was in the 5th grade at Alpha Elementary in Morristown, TN. The Gideons were allowed to come into schools then. Each of us were presented with a New Testament. I’m not sure where that Testament is today, but I still remember it to this day.
Most of us are most familiar with the Gideons through the Bibles they place in hotel and motel rooms throughout the country. I wonder how many people have read those Bibles through the years and how many lives have changed because of it.
One of the funnier stories that this particular Gideon told was how one man did not want the Bible presented to him. He threw it across the street onto the roof of a building. It struck a man in the head who was contemplating jumping and committing suicide. He had just asked God to stop him if he didn’t want him to die that day. That man’s life was dramatically changed and today he works in a ministry.
The thing I like most about the Gideons is their commitment to God’s word and their ministry. We could all stand to be as dedicated as the Gideons.
Were you ever presented with a New Testament from the Gideons? Do you know any other stories of what the Gideons have done to further the kingdom of God?
Two weeks from today, I begin an annual adventure. It’s something that I have been doing now for (wow!) ten years. It will last six months and then I will be return to normalcy (whatever that it) for six months. Then I will be back at it.
What is it? Glad you asked.
I will be spending my Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. at Big Meadow Campground. I do this as a ministry through our local Baptist association called CHARM.
I’ve been doing campground ministry for about 13 or 14 years. I’m not sure which. It’s been most of both of my children’s lives. I’ve doing it so long that I even include them. Here’s how it goes.
On Saturday evening, we will go pass out fliers inviting the campers to come to the Sunday morning service. This campground has people who have been coming there longer than I have and many stay for weeks at a time. Passing out fliers is often like a family reunion. The only problem is that food isn’t involved, which makes all of the grilling smell even better.
On Sunday morning, I arrive a bit before 9 and greet everyone as they arrive. Some Sundays I might have six people. Another I might have 35. Usually it’s somewhere in between. If I didn’t see someone the night before, I will get to spend a little time with them and catch up on what’s been going on since the end of October.
I used to stick my finger in the wind each week to determine what I would preach about. Now, I do it a bit differently. This will be my fourth summer preaching from the gospel of John. I will be starting in chapter 16. The first year I preached through 5 chapters. The second four. I hope to manager better than three chapters this year.
Lord willing, we will have another outstanding year. Pray for me each week, specifically each Sunday at 9 eastern time.
What ministries are you involved in within and outside your church?
I recently changed the tagline of my blog to Making Much Of What Matters Most.
The obvious question to that is what exactly matters the most to me?
I am in the process of putting ink to the answers to this question. In fact, one of the things I am doing on the day after Easter is spending time in prayer taking the ideas I have for this to the Lord. I want these things to honor Him.
Obviously, if you have read Deuceology long, you know that I would list Christ as number one. At least, I hope that is what you would guess.
Next would be Me. I know that runs counter to what most people thing, but look at this way. If I’m not taking care of myself, I can’t take care of much of anything else.
Jan, my wife, would be next.
My kids, Lauren and Andrew, would follow Jan.
My job and career slides in at number four.
My church comes in next.
After this, I am still working on what to take to Him.
Ministry? This one would be rather big, as blogging would be part of it.
Time and Order?
All of these are possibilities. There may be more or less. I’m still working on it. And it may change as I continue to grow in life.
What would your list of most important things look like?
I don’t know if you have read Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter, or not. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing, buy it and read it. Jon has not paid me to say that.
I don’t know if you have had a Quitter experience. I have. Just not the way Jon advises.
Several years ago I felt called to ministry. I gained support from my pastor at the time. The seminary that I wanted to attend had an extension center in the town I lived in. It was the perfect setup.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t my dream.
My dream was to move to the main seminary campus. I wanted to do this so badly that I became miserable in my job. My performance suffered. I invented scriptural reasons and ways that God was telling me to move.
So, what did we do?
It was a miserable experience. Not to say that we didn’t have some good times there. Unfortunately, I worked three jobs and went to school. I hardly slept. Our financial situation worsened.
Looking back, I should have done it differently. I would have worked harder to be financially in a good position before we left. I would have taken more classes at the extension center.
I can still achieve this dream. It’s just on hold. My dreams have shifted and morphed a bit. My kids are at an age where I can’t pursue that one right now.
It will still happen though. No doubt about it. I will still complete my seminary degree.
It will just happen differently than I originally expected.
Do you have a Quitter experience?
I would like to kick off February in two ways. I’m going to tell you a little about me. Then I want to know a little about you.
I’m 43 years old. I’m working on my twentieth year of marriage to my lovely wife, Jan. I have two outstanding kids, Lauren and Andrew, who will both be in high school next year. I came to know Christ when I was 25, even though I had been in church all of my life.
I surrendered to a call to ministry in 1999. I thought that meant I had to go to seminary and be a pastor. So, that’s what I did. I went to seminary for a year and then returned home. However, I never became the pastor I thought I would be.
Now, I preach in a campground from late spring through fall. I teach in church any time I can. We are also in the beginning stages in a new church. You can follow those adventures every Monday.
I love to write my blog and interact with all of you good folks who choose to visit Deuceology. I’ve made more mistakes than I care to admit while blogging. I love this community that I have become a part of in the blogosphere.
That’s my story.
What’s your story?