When you share with folks that you are leaving everything and everyone that is familiar to follow God’s call to Seminary and ministry, you get all sorts of advice. At least that was the case with us. I’ll be honest over the past 11 years, I don’t have clear recollection of most of the wisdom that was shared with us. Not word for word anyway. I have the concept of it all and the advice has been put to good use over the years.
One piece of advice that I have never forgotten came from a retired pastor’s wife. She said not to be surprised if God’s plan was for us to be in two, three, even four (or more) places during our time in ministry. And then she gave me a quote that I have never forgotten.
She told me to invest. She told me to get to know the place and the people where we are. She told me not to wish I was somewhere else. Her reasoning? Because it’s hard to plug in, to be a part of a community when you are wishing you are somewhere else. I have taken this quote up like a banner. At least I try to. Yes, I miss my hometown and yes, I miss being 15 minutes from our family. But I also know that if the place, or just the circumstance, that I am in is God’s will then that is where my focus should be.
At some point, I looked up this quote by Jim Elliot. I was looking for more information on what Jim Elliot was going through when he made the statement. He was a missionary to Ecuador’s Quechua Indians. Along with 3 others, Jim Elliot lost his life as he attempted to evangelize the Huaorani people in Ecuador. In my short search, I didn’t find a lot of detail around the time and place of the quote but I did find that there was more to the quote. Here is the rest of it:
Wow! So what does “to the hilt” mean? According to Webster’s dictionary it means, “with nothing lacking. ” I could write a lot about the will of God and maybe someday I will. Right now, I am working hard on focusing on “being all there.”
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. ~ Psalm 37:3
This verse reminded me of Jim Elliot’s quote. Especially in the situation of being in ministry. Especially in the situation of moving from friends and family. We are to trust the Lord. We are to be in the land that the Lord has placed us in and there be faithful.
After living away from our immediate family for 10+ years, I still get homesick and I miss the friends, that became family, in the towns that we previously lived in. But I am encouraged to live fully… “to the hilt”… “all there” in the place that I believe to be the will of God.
I have to remember that sometimes this isn’t just a place of residency. It could be a situation concerning health concerns. It could be the job that you find yourself in. Or the school. Whatever or wherever He has you, trust Him.
Joy to You!