God calls all of us to our own unique journeys. Those journeys often include sacrifice on our part. Sometimes those sacrifices are related to finances or physical comforts. Sometimes they require uprooting our family and moving to a different country and culture or to a different part of the U.S. than where our extended family lives. Sometimes the choices are small like whether or not to teach a Sunday School class or take part in a project at church. We are always faced with choices and decisions that need to be made. Often times those choices aren’t between ‘good and bad,’ but about between ‘better or best.’
Those around us don’t always understand the choices we’ve made. When those outside the church don’t understand sacrificial choices we make, we can usually handle that pretty well. But what about when our tribe, our church family, doesn’t understand? What if they don’t see your sacrifice as a sacrifice but as selfishness or foolishness? How do we respond then? Do we feel it is necessary to explain, to be sure that we are justified in their minds or are we willing to be (heaven forbid!)
When others in the church are staying late to help with a church project and you, as usual, are heading out the door in a hurry; when the nursery is begging for volunteers and you force yourself to walk past the signup sheet; when the pastor preaches the sermon about each part of the body fulfilling its place and you realize that the pastor may have you in mind; when few know how hard it is for you to say no and to not be involved in a bigger way because the calling the Lord has you walking in at the moment does not allow it, are you okay with letting people think what they might think?
Jesus was often misunderstood. He was accused of breaking the Sabbath when he ministered on the Sabbath in a way that did not meet with the prescribed traditions of the day. He frequently left the crowds clamoring for his attention and went off to ‘solitary’ places with his disciples. He didn’t go to Jerusalem when some thought he should and then went to Jerusalem when some thought he shouldn’t.
Paul too was misunderstood. In Acts 21
, we find Paul determinedly headed for Jerusalem even though the people of the churches were begging him not to go because of prophecies regarding what was going to happen to him there. Paul did not understand all of what God had in mind, but he knew that whatever was going to happen in Jerusalem was the very thing he was called to.
If the Lord has called you to walk an unconventional path, and the enemy is whispering in your ear that you need to explain, that you need to justify your choices to those around you, don’t listen. Be certain of the Lord’s direction and do not avoid wise counsel, but if your ministry is misunderstood, be encouraged! You stand in good company.