I was 17 years old when I "surrendered to the ministry."
My reformed friends have no idea what I'm talking about.
This was a Baptist kid thing. And as a Baptist and
a female, my options were limited. I could either be a missionary, a Sunday school teacher, or a minister of women. (Deaconesses and lady preachers are the unicorns of the Baptist church.)
I was under the impression you had to a be a professional Christian to really
be used by God. I had yet to learn that God uses mothers and fathers, teachers and artists, plumbers and computer engineers, businessmen and farmers to advance his kingdom.
In my mind, you were either a star player or a flower-picker. There was no in-between.
A lot of us think this way, which is why us ordinary folk are content to stroll along the outskirts of the action. Leave the SportsCenter highlights to the pros. Am I right?
Don't answer. It was a rhetorical question.
Last Saturday, I watched my son play his first soccer game. I honestly thought he'd be a flower picker.
Just keeping it real. He's new to the sport and--like his mama--he kinda lives in his own little world most of the time. And well...doesn't he look like a flower picker to you?
Imagine my surprise when the whistle blew and I saw this...
I never thought I'd be that mom,
but I was jumping up and down, clapping, and whooping. Not because he scored a goal. He didn't. And not because he got it all right. He didn't (see above photo). But because he threw himself into the fray.
I wasn't nearly as proud of Micah's success as I was his effort. His willingness to try
. Did I care that he missed the ball on a couple of kicks? No! I had the time of my life watching him miss those kicks.
May I submit that God feels the same way about us? And that maybe he has a way of using our missed kicks?
As I mentioned before, I'm a flower-picker type. A frequent flyer to La-La Land. And don't ask me to multitask. More often than not, it goes wrong.
I know, I know...women are supposed to be phenomenal multitaskers. Blah, blah, blah. Yeah...no.
Last week, I attended Project 41's monthly Worship Night. It was an amazing
night. I just love it when the Holy Spirit drops. There's a holy weight to the air. A sweetness in the atmosphere. It's good stuff.
Anyway, one of the worship leaders dedicated a song to "two very special ladies" and encouraged us all to sit back and soak it in. But as I closed my eyes and settled back onto the sofa, my friend nudged me and asked me to pray for her headache. I was happy to.
But I could only give the song a half ear at best. For whatever reason, the song I heard
was "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."
My friend's headache improved, but hadn't completely gone away when we moved into a time of prayer. So I announced her headache to the group. (Beware of being my friend.)
She sat in the chair in the center of the room, and I took a front row seat from which I watched God love on her through the people around her.
In the midst of the outpouring, I had a vision of Jesus walking her through a garden, pointing out the flowers, showing her how beautiful they were. With the vision, he gave me a song to sing for her.
My pulse raced and heart pounded. I may be a singer, but this kind of thing always makes me nervous. So I asked everyone to join me as I sang, "In the Garden."
The following day, my friend thanked me for the song. She said, "When they sang it the first time, I wasn't sure it was for me. I thought they meant two other ladies. But when you sang it, God showed me it was
I blinked. Wait, whaaaa????
I had no idea the worship leaders had already sung that song. At first, I argued with her. "They sang 'Just a Closer Walk with Thee,' not 'In the Garden.'"
A third friend and the worship leader who'd led the song confirmed it. With droll grins.
Nope. "In the Garden."
Awkward. All I could do was laugh. I can be such a dingbat.
I'd committed the musical equivalent of a missed kick. (A difficult thing for a musician.) But that "missed kick" made my friend feel more loved than she would've felt otherwise.
There are a lot of ways to live surrendered to the ministry.
The key is to live more surrendered to God than to self. To be more afraid of someone missing out on God's love than of looking like an idiot.
Some of us are
star players who get paid to score goals and get kicked in the shins. Most of us...aren't. I'm not. But that doesn't mean I should leave all the work to the pros. We're a body. A team. There's a place for us all.
Which means there's a place for flower-pickers, too. Pick flowers to the glory of God! There's a time and a place for that ministry. I should know. Just be ready for the ball when God sends it your way.
Engage. Take risks. You may miss a few kicks, but God is an ever-proud papa. He cheers every effort in His name. You may be a dingbat, but His laughter is kind
. And you can trust Him to turn even your failures for good.