“He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.”
–Matthew 9:37 (NLT)
“Thank you for coming to my house,” the man said to the pastor, “but I didn’t ask you to come.”
“Your wife called me, Jim,” the pastor replied. “She is very concerned about you. I’m just here to listen.”
“Well, you’ll have a long wait,” Jim retorted bitterly. “I don’t have anything to say.”
Then silence filled the room.
A few minutes later, the man began to weep softly. Without a word, the pastor reached over and took the sad man’s hand.
“I do love God,” Jim began, “but after the accident, everything has changed. I just don’t feel like I have a purpose anymore. I used to help people, but I can’t help anyone now.”
“Help?” the pastor probed, sitting back in silence.
“Yes,” Jim sniffed after a moment. “I used to build houses for poor people, and I really felt like I was serving God. I know that wasn’t missionary work or anything, but it was all I knew how to do. I tried to talk to God about it, but He seems so distant.”
“You are in a state of grief,” the pastor said quietly.
“What do you mean?” Jim questioned, puzzled. “No one has died.”
“Loss takes many forms,” the pastor replied matter-of-factly. “You are mourning the loss of what you used to do. But my concern is that this has gone on for some time. May I ask you a question now, or do you have more to say?”
“Here it comes,” Jim sighed, turning his face to the wall. “I thought you were different, and you weren’t going to preach to me. But I might as well hear you out.”
“well, Jim, I just wanted to ask you if you still want to serve God.”
“I’m sorry,” Jim shot back in anger, “but that’s a stupid question. Of course I want to serve God! Do you think you have a corner on the market?”
“No,” the pastor smiled, “just the opposite. I asked you that question because I think it’s something we all need to ask ourselves from time to time.
“In other words, when things change in my life, I have to sit myself down and reflect on my service to God. Then the question is whether I am serving Him because I love Him, or for reasons of personal fulfillment. There are many ways to serve God, and when life changes it’s comforting to know that He doesn’t.
“Well, I have to go now, but don’t let your losses cause you to lose the battle. That is just what Satan wants.”
All of us have had to face many challenges and changes, but as the pastor reminded Jim, God does not change.
We know this intellectually, but like the disciples, we are often slow of heart to grasp all that this means, and we take it for granted that God is always with us.
As a person who is physically blind, I can tell you that the unknown can indeed be a challenge, and it helps to have somebody by my side. I inserted the word “physically”, though, because we are all blind in some ways.
Nowhere is this more true Than when we face the unknowns which loom on the horizon of life. It is often hard to see in front of us in these situations, and the steps of change can be daunting.
Many times, pride is an obstacle, and it is difficult for us to put our complete trust in God. But in spite of this fact, He is reaching out to you and me in a new way. He is telling you, “I have called you to serve. Therefore, I will guide you through the forest of change, on the path of service.
“Do what you can, and trust me whenever you can’t serve. Just as My Son multiplied the fish and bread, I will be there to multiply what you do for My kingdom.”
Jesus said that the one who served was the greatest in His kingdom, but often we let Satan whisper in the ear of our hearts and deter us from serving our Lord.
Satan will often say one of two things: either, “What you are doing doesn’t count because of its size,” or, “Don’t even try! You can’t do what you used to do anymore.” But Jesus made it clear that there are many different gifts, and all of us can do what we are able to.
We truly need one another. It is like the difference between hauling a monumental load on your own, and having someone there to help you. This world is ripe for revival, but we need to get off the sidelines and onto our knees if this is going to happen.
Ask God to search your heart, and confess both what you do wrong, and what you don’t do right. Give yourself to Him with abandon, and let Him empower you.
We often see only the big picture, but according to the teachings of Christ, revival begins with you and me.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.