Robert Frost did not tell us that there were more than two roads in this yellow wood. He didn’t tell us that sometimes roads look the exact same either. Sometimes you have so many options and looking at them all is quite dizzying? Every turn has two or more roads. Every sign has two or more arrows. Or there are x-amount of doors in front of you, and you’re like, “God, why can’t we just make this simple? Just show me.”
I have a best friend, whom I do not get to speak to as often as I wish I could, that knows what she wants to do for a career and life. The girl is two years younger than I am… Meanwhile, I’m 20 years old and still trying to figure out what the heck I’m even doing with my life. This is where Netflix becomes the ultimate stress reliever/forgetter (is that even a word?). The fact is, for a young minister who is in college, there’s not a definite answer right now. There are many doors to walk through, and I feel overwhelmed by just thinking about them.
As I lay down in my bed one night a couple weeks ago, the stress was getting to me. I couldn’t sleep, and I did not know how I was going to manage school, ministry, and life. To me, ministry is who I am. That defines me. It’s not just what I do on Sundays behind a pulpit or on Wednesdays to a group of young people.. It is who I am. Making it into a university is great. Having ambitions to be a teacher is great. Loving history is great. It’s all admirable, and it all throws doors right in front of you, and you have no idea what to do.
However, people have asked me to separate who I am from my ministry. I can’t do it. My faith and ministry are the most important things in my life. Ministry is my passion. I’m not talking about a platform or show either. I love ministry. I love the behind the scenes despite how frustrating it can be. There is nothing more rewarding. I find my definition in Jesus Christ and His plan for me.
Now, that brings us to the doors…
Imagine you’re standing in a room, facing the side wall of the room. On this wall is three doors. You have no idea about what is behind them. There is only a brief title of each door on a golden plaque. (for example: seminary, job, university, ministry, etc.) You’re extremely confused and have no clue of what to do. The results, consequences, pros, cons all circulate in your mind. Praying and fasting seems to give you the same results… You’re back in this room with 3 doors, 3 choices.
Frustrating, right? Prayer and fasting should help us to narrow things down, and often it does. It does help us to subject ourselves to the will of God. You’re pulled in every direction.
For me, it’s that I truly love history and teaching high school aged kids. I also just want to work. However, I feel a great calling to seminary. Now, no matter what ministry stays the main thing.
For you it may be that you don’t know exactly where you’re even called. You’re being pulled toward children’s ministry, singing and music, and even speaking/preaching. I’ve been there too. That can be entirely frustrating.
Well, recently since transferring to Ole Miss, I’ve made a connection with a young man who is in the same boat as me. He wants to teach social studies, called to ministry (particularly youth/young adult, as I am), and feels to go to seminary. We were talking about how God sometimes places a bunch of doors in front of you. You don’t know which one to walk through. It’s confusing. He told me something that his pastor told him,
“God sometimes puts multiple doors in front of you to see how flexible you are for Him to use. To see whether you will limit yourself or if you choose to let Him guide you. You can be called to preach, but if that is all you ever do, how flexible are you for God to use?”
I think sometimes we feel like God has called us to a specific task, and He does. He calls us to a specific ministry, but there are many smaller aspects of ministry within our ministry. If you’re in youth ministry, there’s more than teaching youth classes, having activity nights, game nights, and preaching. You act as their confidant often. To the youth you are not only their teacher, you’re their mentor. They watch your life. You’re the one who’s there when their family may not be. You wear many different “hats”. Being flexible for God to use within your ministry is vital.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NKJV)
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
Paul became flexible for the effective ministry of the Gospel. He done, endured, and learned many things to bring the Gospel to all. God puts us in places to learn. Sometimes, it really does mean that we must make decisions about some doors that are in front of us. Paul was a Roman citizen, he walked through that door to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. Sure when he first became a Roman citizen, he may have never imagined what that would carry him to, but it’s the same with our education and jobs. We don’t know where they may lead us. We don’t know what they may be used for. Just know this, if you’re truly wanting the will of God in your life, truly seeking it, if you shouldn’t go there, God will direct you away from it. So, go for it. If God isn’t leading you away from it and you feel it could be profitable in your ministry later on, go for it!
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