Throughout history, those who have followed God’s plan have rarely done so in a responsible fashion. The disciples, being the best example, immediately left their careers when asked to follow a man they’d just met. What would the world say if we all left our careers one day to travel with someone we barely knew? We’d be labeled as irrational, irresponsible, and probably insane. We’d be viewed as someone trying to avoid real life. We’d be asked why we left a steady paycheck for an uncertain future. But that’s just it – our future’s not uncertain.
When we’re young, we’re all told we can be whatever we want to be. We’re told if we try hard enough, we can get anywhere we want in life. We also know what we want to do “when we grow up.” We all want to be firemen, or princesses, or pirates. My brother wanted to be a shepherd – a sheep-saving, robe-wearing shepherd just like the ones in the bible. Our dreams weren’t dictated by financial security, or at what age we could retire. We were more interested in doing something that we loved. We didn’t care how much it paid until we grew up.
With age the world told us about responsibility. We learned that responsibility is doing homework on time. It’s going to college, and being able to find a job that can provide a comfortable life. It’s always planning the next move, and being ready for the wrenches thrown in. We also learned that if we live irresponsibly, we’ll end up stuck in a low-paying job that we hate, unable to provide for those we love. We learn that irresponsibility will lead to a life full of unhappiness and missed opportunities.
But what if something comes along in the midst of all these responsible decisions that tells us to jump ship? What if this something has nothing to do with money or security, and more to do with trust and faith? What would have happened if the disciples were raised in the shadow of the American Dream?
Before Jesus interrupted, the disciples had promising careers ahead of them. Peter, Andrew, James and John were all commercial fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector – which is about the equivalent of a lawyer today. Peter, Andrew, James and John were in a family business destined for the same futures their fathers and grandfathers carried out before them, and they left it at Jesus’ first request. Being a tax collector was among the most financially rewarding careers of the time, and Matthew left that for a life of homelessness and wandering. They each gave up their worldly security, and made an irresponsible decision to follow a man they hardly knew, and it led to the revolution of Christianity.
Now most of us won’t have the opportunity the disciples had, and most of us won’t be asked to leave everything we have. We will, however, be asked to do things we don’t understand. Often times it will involve one of our greatest insecurities. For most of us it will be something small, like befriending a co-worker or volunteering around the community. For others, it may require a bigger commitment. When Henry Blackaby, the writer of “Experiencing God,” told his pastor he felt called to ministry, his pastor responded by telling him he had “too much promise” for that. Dr. Blackaby could have listened, but instead he didn’t settle for less than what God could accomplish. He is now among the most influential Christian writers on earth, and has now written over 20 books, published in up to 45 different languages.
Whatever we feel called to do, it’ll likely scare us to death. The things I’ve felt called to always have. Often times, it’s just telling something to a friend – something that they might not like to hear—in order to show them who I am on a deeper level, and letting them know that they can come to me with issues. Other times, it’s simply talking to a stranger and seeing what comes up. Of all my callings, however, writing has quickly become one of the most frightening. I’ve gone through school thus far thinking I’d graduate with one of the better paying degrees – going on to live a life of no financial worries. I then discovered I have almost no interest in my degree. So I started writing. In order to succeed, I must trust that God will provide, and won’t have to use my plan-b degree. Although the financial uncertainty is frightening, I feel that through writing I can truly impact those around me. I can impact them in ways that designing a building never could – in their faith. I know that by taking this direction, I have no idea what my life will be. I’m trusting that God will provide in the midst of these uncertainties.
What is God telling you to do in order to fulfill your potential in Him? All God needs is our trust, and He can put us anywhere. The disciples put their trust in something better, yet unknown, and were then used to spread the message of Christ throughout the world. Henry Blackaby trusted in things greater than his potential, and is now a leader in the Christian world. I’m trusting, without fully understanding, that God will lead me to things better than what the world could offer. Where does God need your trust in order for you to become who He wants you to be?