12 April 2017

The One in Which I Put My Preacher Hat On

One thing I've learned over a lifetime of following the Lord is that the rewards for attentive service are far greater than otherwise. So why then do we waver, waxing and waning with the passage of time, after promising to be a faithful servant?

Jesus said, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41, Mark 14:38 NIV) We waver when there is no immediate assignment, when we feel unused, or just bored by what we perceive as inactivity.

What we should do in those times is to press in, in prayer, and seek His face. "But what does that mean, Reverend?" you may ask. It means to spend time conversing with Him, in His presence. Not because of what He can do for us, but because we want to be with Him.

It's all too easy to drift away, to let our love grow cold, when nothing immediate seems to be happening. It's easy to think we've been set aside, or even been ignored, when there seem to be no opportunities or excitement. Mountaintop experiences are always exciting - but we must also go through valleys to reach the next mountain.

It's very fulfilling to be of service, doing things like setting up or taking down seats, sound systems, tuning instruments, etc. It's exciting to lead the people in praise and worship. It's really exciting to preach (that's the gravy part, for a preacher) and pray for people and watch as they are healed, and freed from various problems.

The behind-the-scenes stuff is not nearly as exciting, but is equally important. The prayers and preparations all enable the public things that the congregation sees.

But what happens when the Lord tells you that He's putting you "on the shelf", so to speak? It's easy to become discouraged, or bored, or resentful. But that's the time when you need to press in even more, to seek Him and His will for you ... and to keep the lines of communication open.

After all, if you're no longer paying attention, how will you hear when He says it time to go back to work?

So let me encourage you, if you're in a dry season, to remain faithful and constant. It's not easy, but it's worth the struggle. And the struggle makes us even stronger.


PeteForester1 said...

This is exactly where I am right now. I tell God that I need a set of orders; that I don't know exactly what I should be doing right now. God's been replying as of late "Wait." When I express anxiety as to where my job is going, he says "I'm sustaining you." When dealing with the impatience of being told to wait, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that I continue to hear God's voice, and that is, after all, the most important thing!

God knows what He's doing; if He says sit tight, I'll comply. He's never led me wrong...

Rev. Paul said...

Pete, you make a great point! There's quite a segment of the Body, it seems, which is in the same situation. I also understand, on good authority, that things are about to change. :)

LindaG said...

Thank you, Reverend.

Rev. Paul said...

You're welcome, Linda.

Old NFO said...

Well said. It's a struggle every day.

Rev. Paul said...

Some are more struggle than others, but then you knew that.

Ed Bonderenka said...

They that wait upon the Lord...
I knew a guy, a minister, who felt that God had led him to go to anaheim.
He waited in his motel room for further instruction which didn't come.
When he came back he asked God what that was all about.
He believes God told him, "There you were with all that time on your hands and no orders otherwise and Disneyland was right there."

Bored? Street Preach!
Hang out at an emergency waiting room and offer to pray for people, at 3am.
It's appreciated.

Suz said...

Hurry up and wait was never something I have been very good at...the entire patience being a virtue thing shows me where I am not virtuous. However, as I get older, I have gained a better appreciation of the positiveness of dull and boring, of not wanting or needing everything to be high drama all the time.

When feeling unsure of the future, I just keep reminding myself of closing doors and start looking for opening windows. Every single time...EVERY SINGLE TIME...I have found the window and it has led to better opportunities.

So I have come to the conclusion God doesn't need to whack me upside the head so hard anymore to catch my attention...I can learn new stuff :) Good thing He is patient with me!!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

It is like you somehow got inside my mind, Reverend. Thanks.

Rev. Paul said...

Ed, you've made an excellent point, once again. Sometimes, the Lord does indeed tell us to do nothing. But other times, He waits to see if we'll act on what we already know to do. That, in itself, can introduce confusion in the immature Christian -- and that tells us the rest of the answer, right there.

Suz, He is VERY patients. Which is an exceptionally good thing. :)

TB, it's because this is a very common thing among us all. But you're welcome.

Peter said...

Thanks for posting this. I needed the reminder.

Rev. Paul said...

You're most welcome, Peter. I think a lot of us needed it, myself included.