My father was 47 years old when he ended up in a medicated coma because of a heat stroke and brain bleed. Just before this tragedy happened, he had been helping a new ministry get started. Several young men had been hurt by a local church after an internship never turned into promised staff positions. These boys had given a few years of their life to this ministry and were feeling discouraged and passed over.
Our meeting them happened at a very good time; my dad had been looking for the catalyst that would kick-start the next phase of our ministry. I hadn’t signed onto help my family in the church as of yet. At that time, I would’ve never admitted that I felt called or drawn to the ministry. Taking on the church, both for services and in daily operations during my dad’s illness, was what started all of that. My realization of my calling was just one of many results of our wilderness experience.
We’ve always believed that “True success requires a successor.” It made sense that my dad was looking for ways to raise up the next group of ministers that would impact our town. He has always enjoyed providing people with a platform. Even before his hospital stay, he knew he wanted to leave a legacy. I think my family always knew that our family legacy was safe with me, but when it came to looking for capable hands that could handle the ministry, I had yet to prove myself.
In a previous post, I mentioned that Dad heard the voice of Jesus a few times over the 28 days he was technically unconscious. The first thing he heard was his name and “I’m not pleased with much of my creation.” Not sure why Jesus would start there since there’s not much more territory you could cover. No matter how useless that made him feel, he distinctly remembers that voice and those words. He is also just as sure about the next thing Jesus said: “Everything has not already been said or done. I have reserved a few things just for this generation.”
In that moment, he saw a flip chart of photos. He saw the young men he had been mentoring. He saw me and my cousins. All the younger people that he had a relationship with were on a screen being played back for only his mind. Even though the Lord’s first sentence was full of hurt or disappointment, this second thought proves that he was far from through with us and that we were still supposed to affect our community.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14 (ESV)
I can’t help but be reminded of this verse in Esther when our heroine is finally assured of her purpose. In one of the lowest parts of her story, Esther is reminded that she had been born for a reason, something special and divine; her people would survive captivity because of her bravery. She was not a mistake and not one detail of her story had gone unnoticed. Her city was right, her dwelling was right, her influence was right. Accurate, correct, perfect and proper. God’s involvement in Esther’s life was unmistakable, but only in hindsight. FYI, that’s always the case.
The trials we face today are nothing like what our forefathers dealt with and our great-grandchildren will have to handle things more crazy than we could ever prepare them for. We can’t anticipate how different even the next few months will be for our world, so it is vital that we build on the firm foundation of the Lord and His principles. We should instill them in our own life and it’s imperative to figure out a way to impact the young ones coming up (whether they be our own children or just some young Jesus followers that we can guide).
Here’s a few of those principles I think we all need to accept. They are timeless and true. Some can start to positively affect you today while others may take generations to establish. This list is also far from exhaustive because each page of the Bible holds dozens of promises if we can only open our eyes to see them. If we apply them, then I pray that we are also able to teach them.
- Seed, time and harvest (Genesis 8:22)
- The first shall be last (Matthew 20:16)
- A leader must serve (Mark 10:35-41)
- Die in order to find life (Matthew 16:24-25)
- The greatest revenge is love (Matthew 5:43-44)
- Give and it will be given (Luke 6:38)
- Foolish things shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27)
- Honor and thanksgiving (Psalm 50:23)
There are great things awaiting the millennial church, but we must stay put and plug in. We don’t have time to learn everything the hard way, and I don’t believe the kingdom of God has been established by novices and prideful prodigies until now. First-hand experience is valuable, but being willing to hear wisdom is an even better trait to desire. I can’t say what the future will hold for the younger church, but I’m certain Jesus preserved us and I know He has called me to something far beyond myself.
It will be different, but it will be as undeniable as ever. I believe it will involve revival and repentance, a church that fights for rigorous honesty and grace-filled community. There will be elements of action, education and spirituality; Jesus will use us both as we sit still and as we move. Politics, business, industry, war, slavery, sexuality, poverty and disease will all be discussed openly instead of minimized or swept under a rug. It will also be something sacred and holy, a place or movement where sin isn’t tolerated and we admit just how far Jesus had to come to save fallen man. We will be disgusted by our sin but overwhelmed by our God. I believe the Lord is seeking people He can use, vessels that are willing to carry His power and anointing. Those are heavy words, but this is an important issue. The grace of the matter is that He isn’t even basing this future on my abilities or my opinions or whether I deserve it or not. My qualifications involve trust and surrender and He is giving me all new ideas and the courage they are going to require. I’m here to claim my reservation.