I had really kind of given up on ever using a gift I believed that I was given many years ago. Perhaps this story will help you see that God is not bound by tradition or denomination, but freely gives gifts and freely directs the use of those gifts for His church, the body of Christ.
I met Jimmy Locklear earlier this year during my first weeks on staff to discuss a writing project he had worked on for Wellspring Group. I remember being drawn in by his passion as he talked not only about his latest book, “Fast Repentance: Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift & Jesus”, but about his own personal relationship with Jesus. There truly was a lightness and joy to him as he described his work. I am thrilled to be able to share a bit of his writing with you today, and it is my prayer that your thinking will be challenged and your hope stirred
– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator
Guest Post by Jimmy Locklear
Two perspectives have led me to see how God’s plan for me met my deep desires. They have been like keys that have opened a new door to understanding how God works to prepare us for a future assignment. I had really kind of given up on ever using a gift I believed that I was given many years ago. Perhaps this story will help you see that God is not bound by tradition or denomination, but freely gives gifts and freely directs the use of those gifts for His church, the body of Christ.
Pastor Frances Chan recently shared a story of how a young, Christian friend was not disappointed when a prayer was not answered as they had expected. The woman’s response was, “God is the Creator and He has 100 ways to answer my prayer, so I’m sure He has a better plan.”
I, also, heard Dr. Derek Grier say in a sermon, “If Plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.” Dr. Grier also shared this quote attributed to the author Stephen King, “God is the only one who gets it right the first time.”
So, with that as background, this is what struck me one Sunday morning as I entered the sanctuary of my church. A few years ago I made a run at becoming a church staff member and thought about going to seminary. Early in my life I had been a campus minister and had applied to and was accepted at a major seminary. My path went a different route, and, although I served in a Christian ministry for over 11 years, I was not a pastor.
Now, many years later, I see a different plan being worked out in me and for me. I’m a pastor-at-large through writing. Every day, I receive and review Biblical content and present it through writing in an effort to engage people in learning about God and personally getting to know God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am challenged to make sure the truth of Scripture is presented in a way that is winsome, interesting and helpful.
So it is a sacred calling which gives me joy, a sense of responsibility and peace. Thus, my writing is easy. That’s right; it’s easy. In the same way that Jesus invites us to take His burden and give Him ours, I feel as though I’ve been given Jesus’s “light” burden in exchange for my heavy burden of doubt and regret regarding whether I’m doing what God has called and gifted me to do. I believe we too often live with heaviness because we are putting worldly expectations on God instead of allowing His heavenly expectations to embody me, to fill and infuse me.
How do you infuse tea with fruit?
Steep your green tea with fresh fruit as another way to add a fruity flavor to the tea. When you steep green tea bags, add lemon wedges, strawberries, raspberries or peaches to the liquid. As the fruit soaks in the warm water, it will draw some of the flavor into the tea.
How to infuse medicine into your body?
Using an IV we allow a liquid to flow into a vein, as a way to get the medicine or liquid into our systems.
How does the Spirit infuse us with God’s being?
As we soak in God’s Word, we are infused with His perspective and principles. He also supernaturally puts His Spirit in our hearts so that our whole lives can be infused with guidance, peace and gifting.
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)
So, as we open ourselves to God and worship Him and to bring us fully (all the parts) to Him, He infuses purpose, talent and fruit into our lives. As that infusing changes us, it allows God to lead us into the places and vocations He wants for us. In the process, God wants to build our faith in Him. That means we will go through times when we can choose to take our burden back or continue to carry the light burden. It’s an amazing, but difficult process. Some never learn it and carry a heavy burden of their own and other people’s expectations and regrets. Others learn it and carry Jesus’s light burden.
Therefore, I feel that I’m the beneficiary of one of the 100 other creative solutions to my desire and prayer to be a pastor or a spiritual director or a monk or a professor.
I am the most blessed person I know, because I have seen God’s gift come to fruition in my daily endeavors. Seeing from the inside out brings joy and thankfulness.
One Step Further:
- In what ways have you experienced God’s answer to your prayers differently than you expected?
- How have you experienced God’s infusion of his purposes in your life?
- What does it look like to surrender your burden in this season and take up God’s light one?