We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8, NRSV)
The twists and turns that come up on the journey of life are always surprising.
It isn’t like the new cars of today that have the sensors all around them that start flashing lights and talking to you warning you of things that are coming. Wouldn’t it be great if humans were equipped with this capability? To be able to prepare and be proactive rather than reactive? But alas, God our creator didn’t see any need to add this feature to our design.
So, surprises must be a required part of our journeys.
For me the surprise twist in my road seems to be that God has been using me to preach.
A relatively new Anabaptist.
Never in a million years would I have expected this. In fact, over the years, I have been adamant that I could never be a preacher and had no desire to give a sermon….EVER! Yet here I am, preparing to start writing my sixth sermon message in seven months and plans for a seventh one to be given in May.
Our God works in very mysterious ways indeed!
When I first began to feel that God was calling me to change and to begin something new I was excited. All indications seemed to point to being a writer. This all seemed very romantic to me as I recalled all of my childhood literary heroines. It was like being invited to join the ranks of Laura Ingalls, Jo March and Anne Shirley! As a result, Wisdom Wanderings was born!
It was this urge to write that led me to become a C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow.
I entered into that year of intentional discipleship expecting to learn more about myself and to also gain a firmer understanding of my faith, what I believe, and who I am as a child of God. All of these possibilities excited me and I just KNEW I would come out of that year of study a better, more competent writer.
It doesn’t surprise me that all of these expectations were the outcome – I do have a firmer understanding of what I believe and a much deeper faith – but I am very surprised that the writing I am doing the most of since completing year one of my fellowship time is sermon writing!
Not blog posts.
Not magazine articles.
Not a bestselling book helping others to find the deeper faith that I did….Sermon writing.
All of this sermon writing has me wondering where this road is going to. Again, there is no sensor to give me any indications of what is coming.
It would seem that a perfect storm of events, a.k.a God’s timing, has placed me in a church that is currently seeking a new pastor. This vacancy has given me the opportunity to preach occasionally. However, we will eventually find a pastor, and that leads my mind to wondering what comes next for me?
God always has a purpose. This time of sermon writing and giving are preparing me for something. Only time will tell what God is currently equipping me for.
Could there really be a future for me in some kind of preaching or teaching capacity? I can’t in the foreseeable future see any opportunities for either preaching or teaching outside of my own church. God works in mysterious ways and in his own perfect timing.
In the end, all I can do is continue on as God’s disciple. When he calls me I will answer with the words of Isaiah: “Here I am, send me!”
Although preaching and teachings God’s word from a pulpit weren’t a part of my plans, they seem to be part of God’s plan for me. To truly be his disciple I must heed the call and follow his plans rather than my own. After all, his are always infinitely better! I will continue to trust and hold on as I come around the next bend in my life and be willing to be open to whatever God has around that bend for me.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, NRSV)