25 March 2014

The call to Fiji

My little brother's family-Fiji-bound
Sunday morning I dropped my wife and kids off at the airport in South Bend.  They were Florida-bound to spend time with her parents and soak in the warmth and sun.  Meanwhile, back in Indiana, snow is in the forecast again.

After I left the airport, I made a b-line for Middlebury where my little brother was preaching his last service at a church he had been with for eight years.  His family is Fiji-bound.  For two years.  That's a long time for so far away.  The church gave them a great celebratory service with a dinner after.  The theme of the service was answering the call.  My brother's family is answering a call by God on their lives in their move to Fiji to start a new ministry on the islands.

I began pondering what exactly a call from God can look like.  What the conversation with God goes like in answering the call, and how obedience to a calling may not necessarily result in how we think it should look.  I think the entire crux of "the call" isn't what may follow, but instead that we follow.  That we respond in obedience to what God is asking of us.  What happens next is entirely up to God.  Success, failure, joy, pain...all may follow a call on your life regardless if it is to Fiji or across the street.

God's just looking for obedience.  He's not looking for rock stars....quite the opposite I'm sure.  I hear of people who have stepped out and answered a call on their lives, only to be met with what most of us would perceive as failure.  And then we, and maybe because of us, those who answered the call, begin to question if they heard God correctly.  And doubt sets in.  Yet God's "success" was in the obedience and surrender of hearts in answering His call.  Not in what followed.

I've gently rebuffed comments by a few people who have framed my campaign as maybe part of some larger plan by God.  I used to think that way, but that's not what God is looking for.  He's just looking for someone to be obedient.  That's it.  It doesn't translate to a win or loss.  It's about understanding my heart, knowing God in how He created me, and answering the call.  And then learning about Him and myself along the way-in success and failure, in joy and pain.

Think about it this way.  When our kids were much younger, there were times we rewarded good decisions that they made by giving them a piece of candy or a cookie.  My wife and I weren't excited about the cookie-we were just pleased that they made the right decision, that they were obedient.  As our children grew older and we weened them off "rewards", they still (not always of course!) were obedient.  That's what brought us pleasure, because we knew that in being obedient they were making good decisions that would be for their own good.

Being God's children, we're left with decisions to be obedient all the time.  We're not entitled to rewards just because we answered the call.  If we demanded a cookie every time we obeyed God, the first time we weren't rewarded might be the last time we obeyed.

I'm fully confident my brother and his family are answering this call out of obedience.  In that sense, God's plan has already been fulfilled in his life....because His plan for each of us is simply to follow Him.  Too often we put the focus on ourselves by talking about a greater, larger plan of God for our lives.  God's just calling us daily to follow Him-let Him worry about the bigger picture and define what are our successes and failures.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Nicely written, my friend.