This blog is a view into my life right now. I know it may seem self serving, but I feel like it is something that everyone in ministry goes through. If you haven’t yet, you very well could face some of these same issues. I hope that you realize how important your life is to God through it all.
In life there are seasons. I am learning that more and more. I look back on my life over the last decade and am amazed at where I am, and where I came from. I started working in full-time ministry over ten years ago. Since then, I have pastored at a couple of churches, worked for a couple others, and been a traveling evangelist. It has been a huge part of my life. Point in fact, it has really been my whole life till the last couple of years. In late 2008 I met my wife Sarah. Since then we have gotten married, and are expecting our first child, a little boy named Arlis James, in December.
I now see myself entering a new stage in life. No longer a bachelor. No longer thinking about myself first. I am now walking blindly into the scary but incredibly fulfilling world of husband and father. It is an awesome responsibility and blessing that is literally shaking up the way I view life.
Psalms 112:1-2 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Since these changes have taken place, I am still traveling and speaking, but have decided to cut back on it quite a bit. There are few ways to become an evangelist that can make an honest living. One way is to be on the road all the time. It is a quick way to make a name for yourself. As a single man, that is what I did. But as life has changed, so have my priorities. Being away from my family is not how I want to live my life. So instead I am taking the slow approach. I still feel like God has a calling on my life to minister. There are still places I need to go, and people I need to speak to. So I am still booking services and speaking wherever people will have me, but I have decided to be home more than I am away.
That decision seems like an easy one. But it isn’t. I have made my living for the last decade solely in ministry. Now I find myself applying for jobs as a waiter and car salesman. Things that I don’t enjoy doing very much. Things that can seem pointless. It is really hard to go from a job that is so important that lives are changed, to just another guy in the workforce. But I was reading something that put it all into perspective for me.
In 2 Kings 4 there is a story about a Shunammite woman and Elisha. She spent her whole life wanting a child. By the time Elisha shows up, she has basically given up on having a child of her own. When Elisha tells her she will have one, she tells him to stop lying to her and messing with her emotions. But sure enough, the next year she has a son. Sounds great. Sounds like the plan of God was perfect right? But then the son goes out to work in the fields one day and dies. How could God give this woman the dreams of her heart and just take it away like that? She went to Elisha to tell him what happened. He told her to take his staff and it would heal the boy. But she said no. You see, to her….Elisha represented God. She said she would not leave without him. So he went to her house, and the boy was healed.
You see, to me God proved a point with that story. All of us can agree that a man with a million dollars and God in his life is the same as a beggar with God in his life. But there is a disconnect when ministry enters into the picture. I feel like God is teaching me that a man with a thriving and incredible ministry and God in his life, is the same as a guy who waits tables and has God in his life. I still feel like God is not finished with me or the ministry He wants me to complete. But for now, my life has become focused on the most important ministry I will ever have. The one to my family and myself.
If you are a pastor that has to work outside of church to pay the bills it can seem like a failure, but trust me when I tell you….God knows where you are, what you are doing, and His plan is going to be fulfilled in your life. I truly believe that in the next couple years my ministry will be paying my bills. But for now my ministry is going to just have to be my life. And you know what….that is more important than any paycheck I have ever received. Have faith that God is in control of your life….not just your ministry.
peace – love – recycle