Discovering God’s Will for Your Life By Daniel Kolenda
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. John 15:16
In Joshua Chapter 3 we read that the children of Israel’s nomadic caravan had come to a seemingly unsurpassable obstacle; the Jordan River had flooded its banks and blocked their path. If Joshua had been trained at some of our fine Bible colleges, I am sure he would have counselled the Israelites with wise words such as “We are going to wait right here until the Lord makes a path in the waters”. Or in the modern vernacular: “We are going to wait until the Lord opens a door.” But his command was quite the opposite. He told the priests to take the ark and go forward into the water. And as soon as the feet of the priests touched the edge of the water, the Jordan parted. And as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge,(the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zaretan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. (Joshua 3:15-17) If Joshua had instructed the children of Israel to wait for God to part the water, their skeletons would still be bleaching on the banks of the Jordan because the water does not part until your feet get wet. Peter would never have walked on the water if he had not been willing to get his feet wet. If you know what God is calling you to do, you need to stop waiting for something
special to happen. You need to take the first step. You need to get out of the boat. You need to get your feet wet. You need to begin to move in the direction of that calling. You need to do something!
The light is green No one in their right mind would sit parked in front of a green light waiting until all the lights all the way down the street turned green as well before they began to drive. Yet so many people are sitting waiting because all the doors have not opened up for them and they cannot see exactly how things will work out. The most important step is the one that is right in front of you. Do what you can do and as you are faithful with it, God will give you more. For many people this first step is the most difficult because they are not sure about “God’s timing”. They are afraid of “getting ahead of God” and they are constantly “waiting on the Lord”. These are noble notions in and of themselves but, unfortunately, many Christians often use them as convenient excuses. In Luke 9:59 Jesus called to one man saying, “Follow me.” That man would have liked to follow Jesus but said, “First let me go and bury my father.” Jesus’ reply was blunt, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” I must be honest; for a long time I felt that this response of Jesus was uncalled for. I did not understand why Jesus could not let this poor young man attend his father’s funeral. It would not have taken long. One day as I read this passage, I asked the Lord about it. “Why were you so cruel to this young man? Why wouldn’t you let him bury his dead father?” I asked. It was then that I heard the Lord speak to my heart so clearly, “What makes you think that his father was dead?” Suddenly I saw what I had been missing. The scripture does not say that the father was dead … it only says that this man wanted to wait until the father had been buried before answering the call. Maybe his father was old or sick. Whatever the case, he felt that there would be a more convenient time to follow Jesus than the present. I suddenly saw what so many of us do. Jesus calls to us as a teenager and we say, “Lord I will follow you but first let me graduate from college.” After graduation we hear that call again and we reply, “Lord I will follow you but first let me start a family.” We marry and have children and soon the call comes again. We reply, “Lord I will follow you but first let me put some money by for a rainy day.” “But first let me put my kids through high school.” “But first let me put my kids through university.” “But first let me
retire and collect my pension.” But first, but first, but first. Before we know it, our cold cadavers are buried six feet under and we have never followed the call of God.
The only appropriate response to God’s call There will always be a “more convenient time” to answer the call of God then the present, but that more convenient time will never come. Jesus called Simon and Andrew they were busy with their lucrative fishing business. But when Jesus called them, “at once they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18). This is the only appropriate response to God’s call. Drop everything, forsake all and follow him. As Reinhard says, “Those who are forever seeking the will of God are overtaken by those who are doing it.” I want to conclude by encouraging you to begin to answer the call of God on your life today. Begin to take that first step. You can spend your entire life studying music theory but you will never learn to play the piano until you sit down and start doing it. It will be difficult at first. Your fingers will not know what to do. You will feel frustrated and even discouraged at times. Sometimes you will feel uncoordinated, as if you are all thumbs. Sometimes you will feel an absolute failure. It is the fear of those feelings that keeps most people from following God’s call. I cannot say that everything I have done in ministry has been wonderfully successful. In fact, I could point to many initiatives that turned out to be dismal failures. But even in the negative experiences, I learned valuable lessons that I draw on today. It took Thomas Edison many years and thousands of failed attempts to invent the light bulb. He said, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” He refused to fear failure.
What are you afraid of? In Matthew 25 we read the story of a master who distributes money to his servants before leaving on a long journey. To one servant he gives five talents, to one two talents and to the last servant one talent. I am sure you know the story; the first servant invests his five talents and soon has ten. The second servant invests the two
talents and soon has four. But the third servant hides his talent in the ground. What is fascinating is the explanation that this unprofitable servant gives his master on the latter’s return. He says, “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground” (Matthew 25:25). He buried his talent because of fear! What was he afraid of? Fear of failure? Fear of being mocked? Fear of hard work? I am not sure. One thing is clear; whatever he feared, he feared it more than he feared his master. When God created Adam, He created him “from the dust of the earth”. We are vessels made of earth. And it is in this “earth” that so many bury their talents … because of fear. The cemetery is one of the most tragic places in town. Not because of the people buried there but because of what is buried in the people that are buried there – books and songs that were never written, sermons that were never preached, forgiveness that was never granted, inventions that were never developed, so much potential that was never realised. So much has been buried and lost for all time because someone was afraid of criticism, rejection, financial difficulty or physical danger. My friends, one day we are all going to stand before the Master and give an account of what he has entrusted to us. Surely we should fear that day first and foremost and be willing to risk everything so that when it comes, we will not be ashamed. What if that servant had invested his one talent and then the stock market crashed and he lost it all? I think the master would have had far more patience with him. At least he would have done something. You will always lose 100% of the battles that you never fight. Today there are so many people sitting around doing nothing because they are not exactly sure what to do. My friends, what are you afraid of? What do you have to loose? Doing nothing is even worse then failure.
May 2010 English
CHRIST FOR ALL NATIONS
Postfach 60 05 74 60335 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 (69) 4 78 78 0 Fax: +49 (69) 4 78 78 10 20
Published on May 14, 2010