I remember when I was younger thinking or feeling the thought of “someday…” a lot, but for those older and wiser, you know that dreaming of “someday…” is not the same as preparing today. I’ve been thinking more about this recently, as I watch a younger friend of mine graduate from high school. She has a lot of the same desires as me: missions, church ministry, outreach, and discipleship. The main difference that I see in her from me at that age is she is trying to prepare for those things by getting involved at a young age.
When you pursue a job or a career, you prepare by schooling and getting jobs in that area, no matter how insignificant, and then working up by experience and meeting the right people. The same thing should apply to those interested in ministry, though one problem is getting involved in a church is not a job that pays. Finding a job that does pay, often pulls you away from getting involved at church because of time restraints and other factors, which is something I’ve been noticing and increasingly concerned by. So for those interested in ministry, be creative and find a job that can help you prepare for what God is calling you to do. Ministry should not be a “someday…”, because without getting involved and doing it NOW that day may never come, or when it does come you may not feel prepared or adequate. For my friend I mentioned above, she is actively involved in church ministry and is working now to build an online store through Etsy to help pay for Bible school. Proverbs 31 woman right there! She is using her hands to make things to help prepare for ministry and whatever God is calling her to. No idleness allowed. No putting off God’s calling for the “someday…”. No compromise in standards or time availability for the bigger picture.
There was a time in my life that I had the mindset that I needed to first earn money and build a career before I could successfully pursue ministry. First of all, that took away any need for faith in God to choose and lead me in the direction He wanted. Also, it doesn’t actually make sense. Moving to Maine was a new jump start for me to start changing my mindset from “someday…” to “today”. A friend gave me the little book 7 Truths from Experiencing God, which I would highly recommend as easy reading for anyone who wants to start waiting for God’s calling by actively following Him today. We should not think of waiting as a time to just earn money and sit on it until *BAM* the right day comes to serve God. That sounds a lot like a dragon sleeping in his lair on a pile of very useless money. Rather we should be using every area of our life (work, school, home, church) as preparation based on what God is calling us to today.
What does waiting look like? For me, it looks like preparing with school and training for ministry. Joining mission trips has also been a huge part of my preparation, as that gave me training and experience specifically with outreach. At home too, I make sure to set apart times and places that I can actively be involved in outreach by handing out tracts. Being involved in church ministry has been a huge part of my preparation, which involves music ministry, discipling teens, learning from older mentors at my church, and just being faithfully present and involved with ministry outreaches and activities. This has not always been easy, as it is time consuming, exhausting, and sometimes feels fruitless, but it is rewarding. God is finally opening doors for me to be pursuing missions, which I have dreamed about for over 10 years. The bigger the calling, the longer the time of preparation is needed.
One of those mentors at my church that I mentioned above recently told me, “The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, and the 2nd best time to plant a tree is now.” She really was talking about trees, but to spiritualize this a little… The best time to get prepared for God’s calling is 10 years ago, and the 2nd best time is NOW. Growth takes time and preparation, and thankfully I began (very slowly) 10 years ago so I can be reaping the rewards today.