This morning I sat on the front porch with my cup of coffee as usual but something was different. There were no children walking by on their way to school and shouting greetings of “Mr. John!” or asking if we were having Bible cub that day. The reason for this strange quietness wasn’t a school holiday, but the fact that I moved to a new house Wednesday morning.
Thursday night after being away for five-months the veteran missionaries whose house I was living in returned to the field. This is a HUGE praise since the church has been praying for their return, and looking forward to it. Thankfully the Lord provided a church members rental property that wasn’t too far away so they’ve been able to enjoy the privacy of their own home.
Being at the rental is quite relaxing;
– It’s beyond the city
– The house is actually separated from the road by steps
– And people don’t know where I am (yet)
But parts of the rental aren’t as enjoyable
– Being away from people meant less interaction with friends
– Living without Internet for my last three weeks on the island (think I will live)
– And it was symbolic of a changed ministry role till my trip home on March 8th
With the return of the missionaries my focus has changed
- Instead of interacting with others in Barrouallie most of my time is spent at the rental house (twelve-minute walk from town)
- Instead of sermon prep my time is spent on reading and research for future discipleship sessions
- Instead of nightly Bible studies I focus on writing, and brainstorming for future ministry opportunities
- So instead of centering on action the Lord has brought me into a season of ministry that centers on planning, behind the scenes work, and lots of study
Now to be honest I’m the kind of person who loves being around people and being active (Bible studies, bible clubs, discipleship) so part of me was “less than thrilled” about entering this season of ministry. But after being here for three days the Lord is beginning to teach me a very important lesson…knowledge of Scripture is better than action.
We live in an activity obsessed culture where success (particularly with men) is decided by how many things were accomplished that day. This definitely isn’t a bad thing, however if we allow that love of activity to affect a philosophy of ministry then certain things are viewed as unimportant.
– Like reading Christian books
– Or studying Theology and Doctrine
– Meditation on Scripture
– Taking long prayer walks
– Mapping out our ideas and plans on paper, then actually thinking through them
– And Memorization of Scripture
The thing is these items are definitely important but they don’t give the immediate sense of satisfaction that may come from checking something off your to-do list. So they and other spiritual disciplines are relegated to the “things we will do when we have more time pile” which unfortunately never gets any smaller. The Lord knows deepening our knowledge of Scripture isn’t one of the fun or easy things to do in life, so occasionally He puts us in a place where it has to happen. The funny thing as we pursue those spiritual disciplines it fills not only our minds but our hearts and lives with a renewed passion for Christ. So that when we leave the planning season of ministry for one that’s centered on ministry those actions are more purposeful and have a deeper impact for Him.
Walking up main street of Barrouallie towards my rental last night was kind of difficult because I was leaving behind wonderful doors that God had opened. But at the same time I do it willingly because I know that knowledge will give more purpose as I walk back down the hill.