Suppose you are an employee in a large multi-national company. You earn a good salary, which allows you to live a comfortable middle class life. You have a four bedroom house on mortgage. You drive a BMW X5, while your wife drives a Mercedes S class. Both on loan. Your two children are schooling at Rusinga Group of Schools. Your wife is a housewife, but that is not a big deal because you can comfortably provide for your family. Life is good, but there is one problem. You are having a calling to be a full time Christian missionary. Of course that means quitting your job, which potentially means losing your current lifestyle.
So what do you do? You think you should talk to someone. But who? Your wife, Janet? She will think you are crazy. She is a Christian yes, but you know she will not just allow you to leave your job just like that. You know what she will say. These are God’s blessings upon your life, Simon. Abraham was wealthy. So was Job. Besides, you can still preach and keep your job. You do not have to do it full time. So you cannot talk to Janet. No.
Your pastor? Perhaps he will understand. He is a man of God after all. But he is also human. Besides, your church is a young congregation, and you fund most of its activities. So the pastor may be conflicted in letting you quit your job. After all, he will most likely tell you that by funding the church, you are serving God. No, Pastor Eric is also not an option.
Your best friend Ewart? This one will laugh at you. He will scold you for being fanatical. He is also a Christian, but he considers himself a sober Christian. He runs a successful automobile business. The two of you have come a long way, and you trust each other. You share similar Biblical views. In fact, under different circumstances, you would agree with him that quitting a job to preach full time is fanatical. But not this time. The conviction in your heart is too strong.
You could talk to Nancy, your former college-mate who closed her accountancy firm to become a pastor. But you know Nancy will tell you to resign today. You can even hear her voice: Simon, what are you waiting for? God has called you. Go! Obey! But what if it is not God really calling you? What if it is just midlife crisis nagging you?
You are not the first one in that situation. A certain army commander sent spies into the enemy territory, to get insight into his attack strategy. Twelve spies. They found a beautiful land that the commander could overrun and occupy. There was one problem though. Their army was out of this world. Heavy artillery, machine guns, highly skilled infantry and modern fighter jets. There were even rumours that they had just developed a nuclear bomb. There was no way you could attack this country and get out alive. That was the report ten spies brought. And it was true.
But two of the spies had a curious report. While they acknowledged the military strength of the target, the exuded confidence that they could overrun the country. Why? Because they had a superior Commander in Chief. God. This is an adapted version of the story in Numbers chapter 13, when Moses sent spies into Canaan. The actual report did not look good, but most of them forgot that God had promised them the land. That is what Joshua and Caleb were trying to tell them. But they let their fear get in their way, and believed the 10 other spies. For their disbelief, they spent 40 years in the wilderness, until all the adults amongst them died. Except Joshua and Caleb.
Many times when God tells us to do something, it does not make practical sense. So human consultants may not help. They will just tell us what they think is good in their human wisdom. Do not misunderstand me. It is good to seek counsel and guidance from others. But as Christians, we should learn to listen more to God.
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The idea of this post came after I listened to a sermon by the pastor of the church I attend, Rev. Tony Kiamah. Unlike most preachers, he is a joy to listen to, even when he is saying pretty basic or routine stuff. Plus his sermons take under 45 minutes. After the service I thought about what he had said, and the idea of this post germinated in my head. The story and illustrations are therefore mine, but the basic idea came from him.
Image source: https://static.pulse.ng/img/incoming/origs3540530/1279728155-w900-h600/Sad-Black-Man.jpg