I thought it would be different. I thought I would be walking into a new ministry. For the last few months, I have been searching for the right position. The door of opportunity came through an insignificant encounter at a small group meeting. It was a small opportunity; not in a ministry of great significance. I thought it would be different. But God reminds me every time I question this opportunity: ministry happens wherever He places us. We are to be His light in whatever opportunity we’re given. I don’t know where this opportunity will lead. The position may only last a few months – it happened one other time in my career life – or it may last many years. I don’t know what will happen.
Whatever door He opens, we are to walk through it. It’s a matter of following Him. It always looks different from what we think. I guess the disciples were in the same boat (so to speak). They dropped their nets and decided to go where this new fellow was taking them. They had no idea where He was going or where they would end up. But they kept following – even when everyone else stopped. They were offered the opportunity to leave when the crowds did, but Peter said no “Who else has the words of eternal life?” (My paraphrase of John 6:67). They did desert Jesus on that last night. They thought it was the end, but it was only a new beginning. Once Jesus arose, the movement started with a few sparks through the Holy Spirit’s igniting in a large gathering. The sparks were spread as the gathering was disbursed throughout the world. And eventually the movement became a fire that has lasted through thousands of generations.
It always looks different when we are in the first steps of beginning again. We just don’t know what’s on the other side of the beginning. It could be a movement that needs a few sparks to ignite for a new generation. Our job is to make sure the sparks aren’t extinguished. Can you imagine if it’s our generation that lets that spark die? We need to fan the flame wherever God has placed us. I completely fail in this regard. I know I need to be better about sharing with others. It’s really the only job that counts these days. Nothing will be credited to my account except the good works that will be stored in heaven for that day when we have to give an account of how we have lived on this earth. Nothing else matters. The fire has to be fanned – if not us – then who? For those who are seeking, they have to see something in us to make them question what we have that they don’t. We have to be different. It’s not easy being different. But we are told to be light in the darkness. The world loves the dark. If our light is diminished or extinguished, the world continues in the darkness and will not find their way to the cross.
So I begin again. I take the mantle that is offered to me. I take the opportunities as they come. I follow Jesus. I stay true to His word. I watch God at work and join Him to fan the flames. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s do this thing. I want to hear at the end of all this, “well done!” And I want it all to count for something greater than what I thought was possible. I don’t understand it or foresee it now. God’s ways are different and His thoughts are greater. I have to trust it all to Him: for His glory! Let it be as He says and let my ways be obedient to His.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)