What Next

What Next

What Next                          November 2017

In my dream, I left the city bus that I was riding to find the bus I was transferring to. This was happening on a university campus, and I was carrying some odd items with me. Almost everything I owned was on the old bus I had left. I was wearing my name tag, and people kept calling out “Bob!“   They wanted things from me. I couldn’t catch up to the old bus no matter how hard I tried. A pair of girl scouts wanted me to buy cookies, but I had left my wallet on the old bus. I told them that if they wanted to run with me and help look for the bus, I would buy some cookies. They said, “No thanks.”

Occasionally I have jumped from one situation to another without much thought. When I consider making a major change in my life I pray about it. And when God does not answer those prayers, I know that I should stay where I am. Doing what I have been doing all along seems the best course. By staying put I don’t have to learn a new trade and can continually improve what I do in the old one.

A great example of considering change can be found in John 3:26-36 (right after John 3:16) Allow me to paraphrase. Some men came to John and said there is a fellow on the other side of the Jordan River who is also baptizing, and everyone is going to him. John obviously knew that his cousin Jesus was doing this and that He was the Christ. John could have given up his baptizing work and followed Jesus. Instead, John continued to do the job which God had gifted him. He did the humble work without pause.

If you were an evangelist and you saw a Billy Graham Crusade, it would be easy to think, my work is not as great as his, I don’t draw as many people, not as many come forward to accept Christ, and I am nothing by comparison. Because of these thoughts you might think you should give up your evangelism. You might think you should join Billy and work for him. Since God had made you perfectly to do the modest work He assigned to you, these thoughts were not from Him.

John the Baptist must have had these same questions about his life. He was arrested by Herod, held in prison, and then beheaded. Why did this happen? A key may be in Mark 6:20, “When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.” It may be that John’s final ministry was to Herod. The same Herod who would begin the trial of Jesus just before His crucifixion.   There in Luke 23:8, “When Herod saw Jesus he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him.” At this point Jesus knew that Herod had beheaded his cousin John and Jesus refused to answer Herod’s questions.

Had John still been alive, he may have considered the outcome of Jesus’ trial and ultimate death as a failure on his part. All of that was part of God’s plan, so John’s role was complete. Though tempted to make a change, John continued until death to do what God wanted him to do. In his wildest dreams, John could not have known what his assassination would mean to his cousin Jesus.

We too must continue the role that God has chosen for us until He provides a different path. The grass is greenest where it is watered.

 

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