On St. Patrick’s Day, something happened that was quite significant in my life. It was step one into the process of ordination. This may not seem like a big deal for some. I know. I had received my “Christian Worker” credentials through Elim Fellowship. It was during the monthly area ‘credential holder’s meeting, mostly a chance for people to get together and get to know each other, with a Bible study. I hadn’t expected the moment to hit me quite the way it did. I kind of thought, ‘okay, I’ll go up there, shake some hands, grab the certificate and sit back down. They’ll go on with their meeting, and I’ll shake some more hands, grab a cookie and that’ll be it.’ But I realized as the meeting progressed, that this was really a ‘first day of the rest of my life’ experience.
How does this fit in with the theme of The Old Testament that this blog has been spending countless weeks on? There are instances, like Esther, when we least expect it, that something happens that changes our lives. I can think of 2003, when in obedience, I packed up my family and moved. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as the months went on, it looked like maybe I had made a big mistake. Without going into too much detail, for years I wondered if I had really made the right decision. Where was God in all this? You see, I had it all planned out; I had figured out what God was going to do, and how He was going to do it.
When God didn’t do things the way I thought He would, I was lost. I’m sure Esther must have been in the same position, asking the same questions. Even though she was queen of Persia, the highest place any young female could ask for, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not she really wanted that—she was taken from her home and forced into that position. But as we see the story unfold, God had ordained it.
I look back on the past decade since I took that bold move. Not long after, God had called me to become a pastor, which I am now pursuing after nine years. What has God done during those nine years? Prepare me to prepare me to become a pastor. That is, I had to go through certain circumstances that would pave the way for me to go to Bible School.
How this relates to Esther is that had I stayed where I was, I am not sure if God would have used me and trained me for ministry in quite the same way. Besides, my move unintentionally brought me within driving distance to Elim. I had no intentions of going to Elim Bible Institute or Elim Gospel Church
until about two years ago. Where would I, my wife and children be now, or in the future, had I not made the decision to move is anyone’s guess. I would have still probably ended up right where I am at Elim, in the long run.
I sometimes wonder, too, what kind of long-term blessing my wife and I are giving as we watch children in our home daycare. Some children have come and gone in this past year already, but I can’t help but wonder if just giving positive attention to these children will have an eternal outcome.
Just in the job that I had (as a small town newspaper reporter) in recent years brought me to a place where I could see that I was blessing an array of people (school districts, municipal leaders, businesses, civic groups, and regular folk). It was a minor occurrence in that I just woke up in the morning and went to work. Who knows, maybe I can continue to be a blessing to these same people within the education, business and civic communities, to the children that we watch and to their families in the near future as a pastor.