I have a college degree in Pastoral Ministries. I have a Masters of Divinity in Evangelism and Church Growth. I have read countless books about the Bible, studied in its original languages, and analyzed its interpretations. At this very moment I am in classroom surrounded by 19 fourths grades reading the book Because of Winn-Dixie. Why on earth am I here?
By the way it sounds, I belong behind some pulpit showing people the Bible, not showing nine and ten year olds long division. What happened along the way to get me to this point? The short answer would be a series of multiple rejections and one yes. The long answer is the subject of this book. It took me two years to get to the place where I am today, and from what I hear, that is not a long time.
My goal in writing this is I want to share with you some insights that I have received from my personal life experiences. Often I hear others wondering how they are supposed to know what God wants them to do, and they ask me how I got to the place where I am today. I always inform them that along the way I received a lot of rejection (In fact, I am going to spend an entire chapter on how to deal with NO). At the end of the line of rejection, I received an opportunity, and I seized. The opportunity to be an elementary school teacher was a long shot, but it was paid off.
Whenever someone talks about God having plans for their lives they think about Jeremiah 29:11-12: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Often we forget about the context this verse was written.
At one point in Israel’s history, the entire country had conquered by the Babylonians. They took most of the people from their homeland to be slaves for the kingdom of Babylon. These people were forcibly removed from their home, separated from the friends and family, and they did not have any way to get back home. The people wrote Jeremiah asking them when was God going to deliver them, and God’s response was Jeremiah 29:11-12.
These words came from God when it seemed like there was no hope left, and God was telling them He was not done with His people yet. Often it seems like we cannot serve God where we are, but as His people we are called to serve where ever He has planted us. The Great Commission in Matthew 29 does not “go make disciples,” but it says “while you are going, make disciples.” Too often we get stuck in this idea that we can only serve God at where we envision serving, but fail to remember that God wants us to serve where we are at this present moment.
The truth of the matter is we are all called to service. Ministry does not only apply to those who wear a suit and tie, and live in a parsonage. Ministry by definition is service. We have to see rejection as merely God leading us to the open door. We are to find value in what we do, and where God has placed us. We have to stop dreaming about how the grass is greener on the other side, and find the harvest in the grass we are planted in. We should always look to serve more in the place we are called to be in.