The phone rang in the Global Intent office. The call was from a successful banker in mid-career wondering what God was saying to him. He sensed God was calling him to get involved in overseas ministry and was seeking counsel. He felt frustrated and confused.
As we talked he explained he was selling the regional bank he founded and was in transition. Obviously, he was good at what he did. This was the second time he started with nothing and made it into a business other peoples wanted to buy from him. He was “wired” to be a good banker. He enjoyed it and he was good at it.
He sought counsel from his pastor and came away troubled. The pastor advised him to put his life on hold, go back to seminary, and then look for a mission agency who would accept him. After raising support, the mission would send him to one of their fields. But, what do I do about my family, and my mortgage and other financial commitments in the meantime, he asked. He also wondered, “What if I am not cut out to be a seminary student? Will this all have been for naught?” There were not a lot of good answers to his questions.
As we talked about how God had gifted him, he realized God could use those gifts and might not be asking him to “re-tool” and become something he was not made to be. I heard a change in his voice and a rush of relief. “So I am not crazy after all,” he said.
We continued exploring alternative paths to ministering with impact, overseas, taking advantage of the special skills, passions and gifting that God had placed in him. We talked about tentmaking and having a unique opportunity to go where traditional religious workers could not go.
How I wish now I had been able to point him to a meditation by Os Hillman. The reflection comes from Exodus 31: 1-5
Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.
Hillman advises, “Friend, your interest in your vocation is not born of your own making. So many business people and even pastors have made the mistake of encouraging us who have a deep desire to walk with Christ in the work place to pursue vocational ministry. To remove us from the marketplace where the greatest harvest is yet to occur would be to remove us from where God called us.
“Do not take this bait. Serve the Lord in the marketplace where he has gifted you and called you.”
You will find the entire meditation at Surf in the Spirit. I encourage you to take a moment to jump over there and read the full text and reflect on it.
To further explore "God Wired You" and related topics, consider attending the GO Equipped tentmaking course in which professionals, retirees and students learn from veteran tentmakers how to successfully take their vocation and skills into the marketplace, practicing their passion and sharing their faith while earning a living.
Global Intent has been equipping and mentoring 1000s of tentmakers for more than 30 years. They are joining with Tent International to bring the Go Equipped tentmaking course to the OM-USA campus near Atlanta this May 9-12. They will be joined by OM and Scatter Global speakers. For details see http://intent.org/atlanta-2019 and join us in Atlanta May 9-12!