Over the next week or so I’m going to be posting some of my thoughts on my losing my job and moving out of the ministry that I have loved and still do. Its still early in the process, but God has already shown me so much. He has shown me so much that I need to work on, some things that I took for granted, and how much people here really care for me. Just the response to the news has shown me that there are people here who care about me, and people that have truly seen what God has done through me.
One of my first thoughts was the students that I will be leaving behind. I know that there are many that will continue to pursue God and will grow in the knowledge of God. But there are many that I will be leaving behind who I worry about. They aren’t normally going to church. They don’t have other people pursuing them. If they are going through something tough, they know that I’m going to be the one that they can call.
One of the highlites of my job is when a student that I haven’t seen in forever just randomly decides to stop by and say ‘hi’. I know that they’re really saying ‘hi’, but that they need someone to talk to. My immediate reaction is to wonder, ‘Who are they going to talk to?’ Whoever comes in after me isn’t going to know them. There are two thoughts that God has comforted me with:
1. There is a parent that has been a ministry to me. She has a child whose heart is hard towards the Gospel. I couldn’t begin to imagine what that would be like if that were Micah. I pray to God that I never have to deal with the horrible test of having a child that I know isn’t living under the saving grace of God. The mother’s encouraging words to me were that we are to trust that God loves our children even more than I do. I can rest in the fact that I cannot possibly come to love any student the way that God does, and God will do whatever He needs to do to bring people unto Himself.
2. My close friend John Milton has also taught me a lot. His most famous sonnet has come to mind multiple times. The background to this sonnet is that John Milton has worked his whole life for the purpose of serving God with his gifts, particularly with the task of writing the best epic ever. His whole literary career had been spent building up to the point where he could write an epic that would not only compete with Dante, Homer, and Virgil, but would also justify the ways of God to man.
Then tragedy struck Milton. He went blind. It’s generally thought that he had taxed his eyes so much, particularly by reading constantly with poor lighting, that he lost his gift of sight. Milton’s thought was that now he couldn’t do what God had called him to do. What was God going to do without Milton’s gifts? That’s when he wrote this sonnet:
- When I consider how my light is spent
- Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
- And that one talent which is death to hide
- Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
- To serve therewith my Maker, and present
- My true account, lest he returning chide,
- “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
- I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
- That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
- Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
- Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
- Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
- And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
- They also serve who only stand and wait.”
The thing that Milton learned in this trial was that God didn’t need him. God didn’t need his gift. In fact, God has angels in Heaven whose role is to only stand by Him and wait. The realization is that God is in control and makes us who we are for the tasks that He decides and prepares. God knows what He is doing in my life. He knows what He is doing in His ministry and His church. I’m not indespensible, and God is honored with me doing whatever task He grants me. Thank you Milton.