In August of 2014, as executive director for the SDB Missionary Society, I had the privilege of visiting our Seventh Day Baptist brothers and sisters at Agape SDB Church on Long Island, NY. This is an exciting congregation, blending Guyanese worship culture into Seventh Day Baptist generally held practices and beliefs. Their Caribbean influence on worship did not keep it from being accessible by my family or participating visitors or members from other cultural backgrounds in the community.
While I was there, we spent some time discussing missions and how we all should be participants in God’s mission to reach all the people groups of the world for His glory. During my presentation, I began to discuss following Jesus and how that may radically change several times over the course of our lives. For most of us, it seems that much of the time we do not know the whole path ahead of us that God would have us take. We looked at the illustration in Psalms 119:105 that God’s Word provides a lamp for our next steps along our personal path. The verse says nothing about being shown specifics about the whole road ahead.
I noted in my own ministry testimony that God had equipped, prepared, and given me experiences to work in youth ministry for His glory when I was a youth worker for ten years in Texarkana, AR. This meant to me that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing when I was doing it. However, it did not mean that it was what I should be doing as my primary ministry for the rest of my life. I believe God did want me working with young people, and I could have continued in that role indefinitely, but I would have missed out on working with Him in new and more challenging ways.
Jonah was given clear vision all the way to where God wanted him to minister in Nineveh. Given that information, Jonah ran the other direction. Sometimes, I believe God spares us from knowing that our own “Ninevehs” are in our future until we have obediently followed Him and been prepared for those times.
Considering that our life is like a journey, we may start out on dirt paths or super highways, change to city streets or winding gravel roads. It may be a collection of different navigational options, but the important part is that we are watching for the signs that tell us we are on the right route or we need to exit in order to continue to work with God where He desires to partner with us in His work. Sometimes the opportunities for exits are more obvious, like graduation from college, being laid off from work, or upcoming retirement from a career. Other times, the signs may come in the form of a Sabbath Recorder article, a sermon, or a word from a friend. I pray we are each in tune and watchful for opportunities to transition to an ever closer walk with Jesus along our byways on the path to where the streets are paved with gold.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” – Psalms 119:105
– By Clinton R. Brown
(Pastor Deryck Thomas leads prayer at Agape SDB Church, NY)