"That's what you want. But what does God want?"
Those are the words that smacked me in the chest last Friday.
Stephanie and I are blessed to have some really amazing friends, and there is one couple we have been close to for over twelve years, despite the fact that for half of that time they lived in Michigan. They live in Owatonna now and it has been wonderful to spend more time with them. Stephanie has been friends with the wife since middle school and the this woman's spiritual influence in Stephanie's life cannot be exaggerated. Her husband is the kind of man I want to be like - manly, smart, Godly, and tenderhearted.
On Friday they were over at our house having dinner and hanging out, when the wife asked me if I hoped to return to full time pastoral ministry again. I get asked this question a lot and so I went into my whole speech about how I would love to, but how it is hard to imagine since our family is so plugged into Northfield and the idea of being a pastor of a church in another town doesn't make much sense to me. I went through all the reasons why leaving Northfield would be difficult: kids connections, Stephanie's coaching, our friendships, our current church, our neighbors, having my in-laws near by, and the many other things wonderful things we're involved in with the community. I ended my reasoning with the statement, "The best scenario would be being on staff at our church in Northfield. I'd love that."
That's when she said, "That's what you want. But what does God want?"
In Genesis 12 God comes to Abraham says,
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him.
In Matthew 4 Jesus comes to Peter and says,
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.Am I willing to leave it all behind to follow where the Lord calls me to go? Am I seeking the Lord in where he wants me to go, or am I (un)intentionally ignoring his voice so that I don't have to respond to anything outside my comfort zone?