For the past 9+ years, I have been trying to run our family’s business as a platform for ministry. I jumped when I heard Jesus say,”Follow me!” To be honest, it has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. In fact, there have been times I have seriously questioned Him about the difficulties.
Path Is Not Easy
If you have ever tried to do work for Jesus – whether in the church, in the community, in the business world, or in the foreign mission field – you have met challenges and difficulties. This path is not an easy one and in many ways, we understand that going in.
At the same time, I often find myself questioning this path. While I know there will be trouble, I still have this picture of what I think the results will look like. I still have a sort of “end of the rainbow” mentality that says if I will just persevere, all will end up like a fairy tale!
What I often allow to drive me is the belief that all the trouble is worth it as long as I end up at the picture I have imagined is the end of the path. Does this ever happen to you? Do you ever have these feelings?
One problem with this line of thinking is that the picture I have imagined is hardly ever the picture that God has in mind. I think the results will look one way and He has something totally different in mind. My frustration begins when the path I am on begins to veer away from the path I had pictured.
“Wait God! Aren’t we supposed to be heading that way over there?” I imagine He smiles and then continues leading me away from my picture and toward His. When I am close to Him in relationship, I can handle this. When I have strayed a little, this part is really tough.
However, I will tell you that I have a much easier time in handling a different picture than I do with another problem that crops up. This other problem is all about timing.
See, in this other situation, the path does not necessarily head off in a different direction than I had originally imagined. The problem instead is that it appears to go nowhere at all! That is because, with this problem, it appears that I am supposed to wait on Him.
I cannot tell if I am on the path headed to where I imagined or somewhere else that He has in mind. I cannot tell because I AM NOT MOVING! I feel like I am smack in the middle of Groundhog Day, the movie, and every day is the same as the one before.
I feel like I am stuck and cannot seem to catch a break to move forward at all. This problem seems to plague me more than any other. Maybe it is because I am impatient. Maybe it is a control thing. Maybe it is a combination of these and other issues God is trying to force me to deal with.
Whatever it is, I really have a hard time with this one.
I like progress. I like to be moving forward and seeing forward motion. I do not like to be stuck, sitting still, apparently going nowhere. I KNOW the Scripture that I SHOULD be reciting, but it is still difficult for me to handle. I know that God’s timing is not mine, but I still struggle!
I Finally Broke!
I recently had an “episode” or “tantrum” when I was away at a meeting. I was surrounded by a huge group of like-minded businessmen that were doing incredible things with their businesses to impact people for eternity. I am not talking about 5 or 10 people. I am not talking about just in their community.
No, these Christian business leaders are having an impact on thousands all over the globe – the very things that I have imagined God would be using ME to do as well! [Note: I recognize some of this IS happening in our business, but you have to bear with me...I am having an immature moment here! Likely, you've never done this!]
I listened and listened, but I finally broke. I finally got off by myself and questioned God directly. I asked why things were so hard in our business. I asked why we were not seeing the progress we wanted to see. I wanted to know why these other businesses were put in a position to impact so many and we were stuck. I asked over and over, “WHY?”
No answer. Nothing.
At least not right then.
As is common with Him, He just listened.
He Finally Answered!
It was not until almost a week later when I was sitting in church that He gave me the answer to my questions. When He gave it to me, it was one of those moments that sticks with you. It was one of those moments that you just cannot get out of your mind.
I will not go into the detail of the whole message, but I will describe the setting of the Scripture He used to get my attention.
Jesus has just asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Each time, Peter tells Jesus that he loves Him! Each time, Jesus then says for Peter to feed his sheep. Then Jesus foretells the manner in which Peter will die. He ends by telling Peter, “Follow Me!”
Jesus has basically given Peter his marching orders and Peter is trying to understand exactly what it means. Maybe he is even asking himself what it will cost him. I don’t know.
Whatever the case, Peter’s next question resembles the questions I was asking God earlier. He points to John and asks Jesus, “What about him?” Essentially, He basically wanted to know what Jesus was going to have John doing while all of this was happening to Peter.
It was Jesus’ response to Peter that made my hair stand on end. It caught in my throat and took my breath. As I heard the pastor read it and followed along with him, I instantly knew God was using this passage to answer my earlier questions.
“If I want him to remain until I come,” Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”
To Be Continued…
When Jesus said, “Follow Me!” to you, what did you think it would look like?
Has His call to “Follow Me!” turned out the way you expected?
How do you react when His “Follow Me!” takes you where you do not want to be?