God is able

Change Arrows Clouds Heaven Direction Begin

Changing Roles and Responsibilities

7 And he [John the Baptist] preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:7-8

Has there ever been a place in your life when it was time for you to leave so someone else could fill your role? I’ve been on both sides of this, and it can be challenging.

One thing that blessed me in my local church was this elderly gentleman named Fuzzy that played an upright, string bass. His talent was marvelous. One day, after I’d been a member of a local church for several years, the music director told me that Fuzzy was going to retire from playing bass, and he made the request that I fill his spot – I played electric bass.

When Fuzzy and I met to talk through “his” role, I was saddened. He loved the decades he’d spent playing bass, but he had been praying for someone to replace him; his age interfered with his talent. His prayer was answered, but the reality was brutal. I think John the Baptist may have felt some of this.

I’m not diminishing John’s joy. But there’s a message here for us:

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:

Matthew 11:2-4

When John the Baptist was in prison, he no longer preached to huge crowds, no longer baptized throngs of people. He was even isolated from his home and his way of life. Doubts were pummeling him. I don’t think he sinned, but he needed confirmation that he had been correct. Fuzzy kind of did that with me.

For several Sundays, he sat close to where I played. He wanted to know if I played the songs correctly and was doing the right things to fill his role. He wanted to know that he had chosen correctly.

We all have times when we surrender our role, our position, to someone else; it’s tough, and you want to know that it was the right decision. I’ve seen this at work, and I’m seeing it in the stages of our lives.

There was a time when I thought I was ready to conquer the world, then my first child was born. Then God gave me more children. The next thing I know, I’ve become a grandparent. What happened to conquer the world? What happened to my role in raising children? Now I am being silently asked to move to the role of an elderly person. This is how God works. John the Baptist experienced it, and every one of us will experience it if we haven’t already.

The good news is that God determines the times and circumstances when His preordained will touches our lives and moves us to a new place to share the gospel and glorify Jesus.

You may like: Let’s start when eternity changed

Group of young people praying for a man.

Because God is Able

I still have a LinkedIn account. I enjoy it because it enables me to stay in communication with so many fine people with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. Of course some, like me, no longer work but we still try to stay in the loop with the careers in which we invested so much.

To help busy professionals, LinkedIn helps us (wink) write our quick thank-yous, congratulations, and so forth by guessing what we’d like to say and filling it in for us. I don’t remember the event but yesterday LinkedIn filled in for me, “Sending you good thoughts.” What does that even mean? That’s like saying, “I’ll keep you in my thoughts.”

Content-Free Messages

Sending them or keeping them, good thoughts are but a few of the terms I call “content free” messages. In our society content-free messaging is a necessity. We can no longer risk saying something meaningful for it will certainly be misinterpreted, misrepresented, or miserably received. Being in management I heard many presentations that were entirely content free. Those are valuable skills. 😉

Thankfully, I can talk with my Father without fear of a misunderstanding or a fear of reprisal. Yes, it’s true that”…the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6 ESV) However, these are signs of His love and care.

The thing that’s rolling around in my head is this: Isn’t it amazing what a prayer can do? As a Christian my new life began with a sinner’s prayer. From that prayer came a miracle which caused me to be reborn. And each day, as I pray, my trust in the God who answers prayer includes trust in the supernatural work of God for He has said:

“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” – 
 (Isaiah 55:11 ESV)

Prayer changes things because God is able

George Müller

There was a man named George Müller. He lived in England during the 1800’s and is remembered for living completely by faith in the one true God. During his life he cared for 10,024 orphans and built 117 schools, all accomplished by God, alone. 

Müller’s successes are well known. What isn’t so well known is that he prayed for the salvation of his life-long best friend but his friend never turned to Jesus. However, on the day Müller died his friend received Christ Jesus, not because of Müller’s death for the friend was unaware of Müller’s passing. It was just God answering prayers in miraculous ways.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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