Have you ever stopped to think how everything in this world is somehow intertwined? How all of us in some way are connected? After all, are we not all descendants of Adam? When a major earthquake struck Japan, it caused a tsunami to crash onto the California coasts. Abundant (or sparse) harvest in our nation’s heartland affects the quality and costs of our foods. We can cite example after example of how our actions influence others.
This year, three pastors who have greatly impacted my spiritual life, celebrated twenty-five years (the other almost 35 years) pastoring the same church. Their accomplishments caused me to reflect on a few thoughts.
To Stay For Decades In A Ministry, They Had To First Answer The Call
I love having the opportunity to honor men and women of God who have stayed at it for decades! Some will say, “They’re just men. What’s the big deal?” Have you read the Bible lately? God uses man! He doesn’t need to but He chooses to. What a privilege!
In the life of God’s servant, there comes a call, a commission if you would. It’s fun to talk to and glean wisdom from those are continuing to “fight the good fight of faith.” But it started somewhere.
These choice servants will tell you that it started with a clear call. There had to be a point in their lives (as well as ours) when they said to God, “Here am I.”
Daniel could have pouted as he was dragged to Babylon. As a chosen child, he was to have the best training, the best food, and the best drinks. But Babylonian best is not the same as God’s best. Therefore Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. He started with a choice, he answered the call!
Answering The Call Will Affect Others
These pastors, including my current pastor, have answered the call and have stayed in the same church for a combined 101 years! I’m so blessed to have portraits of faithfulness before me everyday and my family and I are just a few of the people impacted by their decision to follow God. Scores of souls have been saved, marriages have been restored, wayward children have returned home- all because someone took a stand, sounded the trumpet, and served others.
In Daniel 1, it was Daniel that purposed his heart. We know from reading the passage that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah followed Daniel’s leadership. Not only did Daniel’s decision bring favor in the eyes of the king, I believe that his decision ultimately helped Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stand against the decree to bow before Nebuchadnezzar. They saw what God can do through a surrendered life!
How’s your ripple effect? The decisions you make, are they stepping stones for others or a stumbling block? Are you a good example or a bad one? Remember, you actions will eventually affect others, even without you knowing it.