Eleven years ago this week…allow me to set the scene…
As I recall it, it was about ten degrees with a driving wind and I was three stories high in a lift trying to keep the window washing fluid from freezing on the glass.
I was done with ministry or it was done with me. I wasn’t sure, but I was wondering what happened? I had the best seat in the house at a prevailing church in Vegas and now a normal day found me washing windows, cleaning condos, doing conference calls in my crap car with a media company as I free-lanced in Chicago, and playing piano at the corner bar.
Everyone might need a ‘season to detox and unwind’ but my season was stretching a little too long for me. Friends had come to my rescue given me jobs, opportunity, and many times cash. An anonymous friend even left gifts for my kids on my porch. These are lovely people whom I am forever in debt. I will never repay it.
I have zero memory of Christmas day that year. I guess the stress of wondering if I had enough invoices out got the best of me. In those days it was the paper checks in the mailbox I was waiting on…but it was the paper bills that stacked up. My wife and kids have told me the good stories in hindsight. In fact my daughter recently told me her favorite Christmas was that year. They chimed in with memories of what they received mainly from Goodwill. What kind of freakish Hallmark movie must I have been living?
Now, I could take this story a number of ways. I could tell you how this season changed the way I view janitors and day laborers. Believe it or not, a filthy guy cleaning a condo gets talked at differently than a respected worship pastor of a local church. I could type pages about the faithfulness of businessmen who gave me opportunities, and the friends who gave us money. But that’s not this post.
This is for the pastors, former pastors, and those who wish they were former pastors. You are my heroes! Christmas week can be a tough one for you. In fact, you don’t have time to be reading this.
But allow me to affirm something…
If you think God is done with you He's not. Cliché or not…I prove that.
In fifteen years of ministry I changed seats four times. Based on my sketchy work history from age 20 - 34, I probably should be selling encyclopedias door to door (not that there’s anything wrong with that! Do those still exist?)
God can heal willing hearts, and direct willing feet, and use willing hands. The last 12 years have been a ride of just accepting Kingdom assignments and being used by Him to help others. People have often said to me I want to do what you do for a living. I typically thing you have no idea…
He might just redeem your crazy journey until one day you look back and it makes total sense why all of that happened. After all, He's been at this for thousands of years, and you are just a little part of His story.
Own your stuff. Keep truth tellers around you. He directs your path. You just gotta keep taking one more ridiculous step forward. Some friends will think you're insane. Most won't understand. That's ok, too.
These are Kingdom assignments - it's His thing. It's not yours. Window washing, cleaning condos, playing at bars…this is the perfect run-up for consulting with some of the most amazing leaders I would have ever imagined being around.
What kind of pawn tells the King "no thanks" to these assignments?