Thursday May 5, 2011
I was a pastor in a multi-staff church and was in charge of marriage and family ministry. I was young at the time and had all kinds of energy and vision about how we could reach out to married couples and couples with children. I had come off the college campus where I was the director of a ministry that discipled christians in their faith. Basically whatever we wanted to do, we did. Of course, we had to make sure that the University of South Florida administration guidelines were followed. We did some crazy things and carried out God’s call in central Florida.
Being a pastor was a totally different experience. Each ministry had a committee of lay persons who had a burden for the ministry, and had different ideas of how the ministry was to be run. Problems surfaced when statements surfaced in the committee, “We’ve never done it that way before.” “We tried that and it didn’t work.” “That will never work.” “That will be too much work.” “That’s a bad idea.” I’m sure the people who raised these statements had good intentions, but they were motivational killers to those who heard them. Some of the statements stifled people in the group from giving further advice for fear of being shot down.
There are also people who seek to make trouble and then come along and seek to solve the trouble they make. These are people who are uncomfortable with smooth relationships and need chaos to feel valued and worthwhile. Nehemiah comes across one such person who sought to create chaos for those who were seeking to rebuild the Jerusalem wall. “They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.” (Neh. 4:8). When you begin to seek to follow God’s call on your life, you will be faced with people who come into your life that want you to fail, not succeed. They thrive on making your life miserable so that they can subconsciously compare themselves with your life and feel better about themselves when you are struggling. You can either allow them to cause trouble in your life, or do what Nehemiah and the exiles did, “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Neh. 4:9) It is interesting to note that they prayed, but they also acted by preparing for the trouble by posting a guard day and night. Sometimes we need to do more than just pray when trouble is on the horizon.
In this journey, there will be trouble, and when it comes we need to pray and put action to our prayers.