Relax and listen. Consciously prepare to hear God’s Word. Clear your mind of the worries and tasks that lie before you. Open your heart and allow it to refresh.
John 8:49-59 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
I love to recall my journey into ministry. I can remember the feelings, the discussions with my pastor, the denial, the discernment, the point that I submitted to God’s will, and the stumbling blocks along the way. That’s right. Believe it or not, when you accept a call to ministry, there are stumbling blocks. For me, that came in the form of people who did not believe in me.
After I embraced the call, I shared my decision with a lot of people. I did this hoping that I would receive gratitude. I did get a lot of support from my family and my church. However, many of my friends scoffed and told me that I would never make it. I carried on despite their pessimism. When the time came for me to attend seminary, I told many of my friends that I would be moving to Memphis to proceed with my education. Many of them discouraged me and told me that it would be too difficult. Again, I carried on. In both situations, I knew that if God was leading me, it was worth the attempt. After carrying on despite the nay-sayers, I discovered that God’s path was so much more than I ever dreamed.
It seems that regardless of the path we choose, there will be people that will not believe in us. Those people are stumbling blocks. It takes a lot of supporters to clear the cloud of one nay-sayer and it often feels like there are more of the latter. But, when God has ordained your path, it is worth moving forward. There were many people who did not believe in Jesus’ mission. However, it was God’s will for him to carry on. Due to that, the world was changed.
Heavenly Creator and Giver of Life, we give you thanks for guiding our paths and showing us a way that fits our unique gifts. God, allow us to hear your voice over the stumbling blocks. Lift us when we are being weighed down by adverse suggestions. Give us strength to carry on for you. In the name of the One who gives life, AMEN
Go with God!