I’ve lived in Middle TN for many years now. Oftentimes when I’ve applied for and had been eliminated from consideration for employment (and I mean countless times no matter the degree of responsibility), the reason was the same. I’m “overqualified” for the position. Without having interviewed me and after having adjusted my resume to fit the position, I’d undoubtedly receive an email from every potential employer stating the same thing, “Though your qualifications are impeccable, we’ve decided to go in another direction.”
For the first time in 4 years, I thought I had a bite from a real employer, you know, one with meaningful benefits. We met. Things went great. I was a shoe in for the position. I didn’t get the position however one question remained with me since the interview. A portion of it is the title of this missive: “What have you learned?”
I’ve pondered this question for weeks now and today, Resurrection Sunday, God asked me that same question. God, creator of all that is, fashioned a body and became subordinate to save me. He was the only sacrifice suitable to bring His creation back into relationship with Him. I’ve learned that these entries (Being Fearless tab), though meant to encourage the Saints, were His provision for me while entering the pastorate in TN, being denied employment, minimal help from others, no savings and the threat of my family being homeless.
In one of the entries, I asked God to teach me what David learned while in the fields tending the flock: suffering. Be careful what you ask for! God knew David prior to forming him in the womb. He knew me also. I’ve learned that taking matters into my own hands was foolish, yet He’d provided a way of escape from my error. Though Sarah, Abraham’s wife, erred in her rush to fuel God’s promise of a son, God called her the mother of nations and she was. Paul, once named Saul who persecuted Christians prior to meeting Jesus, said he’d learned to abound and abase. So did I. Jesus, God incarnate, asked that “this cup pass” from before Him yet accepted it on my behalf and is our risen Lord and King.
What have I learned through suffering in Middle TN? I’ve learned that nothing is beneath me but the devil, the Saints belong to God and not man and as much as I’d like to retaliate against falsities in ministries here and worldwide, God continues to expose and slay enemies crept in unawares by the Saints right before my eyes. I’ve learned that this was needful to enlarge my tent and lengthen the cords of my measure of faith. It took repentance from conducting my affairs in an old mindset and trusting Him in all things. I revisit His word, became vigilant in prayer and thanksgiving and patiently waited for Him to introduce me in my neighborhood, the marketplace and ministry.
God has opened the Scriptures to me for more than twenty years. He continues making them clear to me and my role in His will. When His Spirit burns within, I want to explode in immeasurable joy and run and testify to His leaders about it. God’s benefit package is unmatchable. The labor required is light for He does the work. Saints, equal to knowing about Jesus is receiving Him by faith and waiting to be filled with His Spirit. Consistently study the Scriptures, hold every thought and imagination captive making it subject to the Word of God, wait for God's voice in prayer and obey it, lastly, worship God to fortify your relationship in Him. Walk the talk.
If you know me or have read prior entries on this Being Fearless tab, you can gather that I’m in Middle TN because God said go. I only need show up and speak whatever I hear Him say. It’s remarkable watching people glimpse into His face and change. It’s not quite what one would expect to receive from a cashier at Walmart! I don’t know every step or task ahead of me, but each will be revealed by His Spirit.
Love everyone Saints and let God sort them out in the end. Now, what have you learned?