Monday, October 10, 2005

Oct. 10, 2005

How many times have you been watching a football game, and someone was just a little too antsy at the line of scrimmage before the play starts, and is penalized for a "false start", or even encroachment? It's not that the player necessarily chose to break the rules, but the excitement of the moment caused them to move before it was time.

I think that in life, and especially in ministry, the drive to launch before all is ready is extremely tempting. I speak from personal experience. Having been in spots where acted before the proper time, without the Lord's leading, I can say with some certainty, it pays to submit to the Lord's timetable. I have been a licensed minister for more than five years now. When I first got my license, I thought I was ready to take on the world, and win it for Christ. Sure, I preached when I could, but looking back at those first five years, I am thanking God that He kept me in a spot where I could do the necessary learning required of pastoral ministry. Neither myself, or my wife were ready to face the trials that come with ministry.

There are two people to look at in the bible, and they illustrate for us both patience and hastiness. First, let's look at David. He was shepherd. And, God used his time in the field to train him, to teach him. David was able to use his experience with the sheep in his battle with Goliath. He told Saul, in not so many words, "this giant will be like the lion and the bear". But David was patient. Even as he was an armor- bearer for the king, he still worked in the field with the sheep. And it is through his shepherding experience that God showed him how to lead his people.

Now, let's look at the flipside. Saul was told by the Prophet Samuel to wait seven days for him to come and offer a sacrifice to God, and receive instruction for the next move (1 Sam. 10:8). But, as we read in chapter 13, Saul got a little impatient, and took it upon himself to offer the sacrifice, because Samuel hadn't yet shown up. If he had waited a little while longer, Samuel would have shown up, and all would have been good. But, because of his rashness and hastiness, his kingdom would not continue, his future dynasty would never come to be. One hasty decision to move ahead of God was his ruin.

My prayer is that God will keep me where I'm at until it is His time to send my forth. This is my prayer for you, as well. Whether God has called you to pastor, or to simply be a light of Christ where you are, let God mold you. Let Him use this time to make you the man or woman He has called you be.

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