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The Value of Perspective

November 29, 2008

So I’ve been 30 for a week now.   And while the days leading up to my birthday, and immediately afterwards were essentially benign, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past 24 hours or so.

I guess it could be encapsulated in a movie I just saw again tonight- a movie called “The Family Man.”  In the film, Nicholas Cage’s character (Jack) plays a very successful investment executive who is given a chance to see what it would be like to go back and change a decision he made at the beginning of his career.  Jack is placed in a new scenario where he’s married to his college sweetheart, has two kids, and works a blue collar career.  Whereas at first he’s yearning for his New York City Penthouse apartment and multi-million dollar existence, as time goes on he grows to love the family life he would have had if he had chosen his gal over his career.

So, why does this have me thinking?  Well, i guess it goes back to my beginnings as a Christian.  God saved me back in 1998 when I was 19 years old.  I was in college at Bowling Green State University studying a smattering of popular culture and English, and I was pretty much content to follow the path that my peers were on.  Let me explain- all of my life I was told that I was very intelligent, I always placed into the top classes, I was enrolled in the GATE program for gifted children, I scored quite high on standardized tests, and I was a National Merit Scholar at St. John’s Jesuit High School, one of the top college prep schools in the area… all this to say that on paper, I should have done well in college, graduated at the top of my class and garnered a well-paying career with all of the successes the world could offer.  But I didn’t.

From the time I came to know the Lord, I began to feel dissatisfied with the classes I was taking at BGSU.  The subject matter barely held my interest, and after 5 years of taking classes in an on-again-off-again enrollment, I decided that college wasn’t for me.  Around that same time, I was offered a job working for a college ministry.  You see, this whole time, I was also pursuing the knowledge of God, learning more about the Bible, and undergoing various forms of leadership training.  I was in the thick of the whole “progressive sanctification” process (not that we’re ever done with it on this side of Heaven) and I was beginning to discern God’s will for my life.

Over time, it was clear that God had put a call on my life to go into ministry.  And that’s where the rub began.  To this day, I’ve always found it to be an exercise in pride-swallowing when people ask me “what’s your degree?”  When I answer, “I don’t have a degree-yet,” it makes me feel like they must think I’m a failure.  After all, a 30-year-old with the abilities that I’ve been given should have a freaking Ph D by now.  Or at least a Master’s!

But it’s only now that I feel like God is calling me into higher education- a curriculum at a Seminary, for instance.  You see, back in the BGSU days, I was dissatisfied with the courses I was taking because I wasn’t wired for that line of study.  There’s no doubt in my mind that if I’d ignored God’s call on my life, I would probably be well-off and successful in the world’s eyes.  Instead, I’m living in a two-bedroom townhouse apartment that I had to rent in order to follow God’s call to plant a church in Toledo.   I own a perfectly good house in Indianapolis, Indiana that I’m trying to sell, but I can’t live there and follow God’s call at the same time.

I’ve been in ministry since January of 2002- almost 7 years.  And though I’ve been taking some time off from ‘vocational ministry’ to regroup from my last position at a seriously unhealthy church, I still feel God’s call, stronger than ever, to serve him in a pastoral capacity.

I guess the moral of this story is that there are times when I am tempted with the thought of ‘doing things my way’ because I could probably make more money and have more worldly success.  But as I look back over the past 10 years of my Christian life and especially the past 7 years of my life in ministry, I see how much God has done to woo me into a life that is far more fulfilling than any successes the world could ever offer.  Plus, I have a knockout wife that I never would’ve met otherwise!

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One comment

  1. I knew you were extremely intelligent, but I had no idea you were like MENSA smart! lol. I will be praying for you man!

    Hope your well.

    In Christ,

    Ryan



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