Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. - Isaiah 46:9-10
Embrace the Plan
Lonnie wanted to be special. He came from a wealthy family, and he carried with him a sense of entitlement. However, he was not as good an athlete as Tom or Jeff. This became a problem for him around fifth grade, because Lonnie desperately wanted to be a star—the star—of our Dawson School basketball team. He wanted to be the one on whom everybody focused, the one everybody praised. He wanted to be the one who put in the last basket to win the game.
During one afternoon practice, Lonnie was hogging the ball. Every time he got the ball, he would dribble, dribble, dribble until he got closed in on, and then he would shoot from wherever he was on the court. Our coach got tired of that and decided to teach Lonnie a lesson. He called a time out and said, “OK, we’re going to scrimmage now. Lonnie, you are on your team. The starting five is the other team. Let’s begin with a jump ball.”
Well, Lonnie didn’t win the jump ball. However, it wouldn’t have done any good because he wouldn’t have tipped it to a teammate, because he was the only one playing on his team. It didn’t take long for this fifth grader to be overwhelmed, to be humbled, to become angry and fall apart in tears. Lonnie was learning an important lesson. The game is not about being the star. The game is about helping the team win.
Sometimes when we think about ministry, when we dream about serving the Lord, if you are like me, you think, “Maybe I could be that Disciple Now speaker who brings the devotional that rocks the whole youth group. Maybe I could be the one who preaches that inspirational sermon in my home church or in chapel at my alma mater. Maybe I could counsel that couple back together. Maybe I can be the star.”
The moment you start thinking about being the star, you start comparing. As soon as you start comparing, you start competing. When you start competing, you start thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Then you start to envy, which leads to discouragement; and that easily can lead to the failure of a life and ministry.
Today’s Pastoral Resource...
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