You’ve got to loose sight to find your vision.
Can I be candid with you? I’m in tears right now. I’m emotionally overwhelmed and I’m not sure how this one seemingly menial interaction with a kid in a pet store has me in tears. I mean I can’t stop crying. The reality is, for quite some time now; I’ve been just going through the motions of Christian ministry. I’ve been showing up more to do a job and less to minister. I’ve been like a vagrant with no home traveling from town to town doing my form of transient ministry so long that I’ve lost sight of why I even do what I do. Tonight it smacked me in the face.
I’ve been so caught up in trying desperately (and often failing) to provide for my wife and I that more and more ministry has been treated less like something out of the overflow of joy and more of something that I begrudgingly HAVE to do because there aren’t any other open doors for me. It seems like in some ways I’ve lost sight of why I entered the ministry in the first place. I remember being in Bible College and devouring scripture, praying feverishly, relying so heavily on my faith in Jesus that despite my circumstance I had a peace that surpassed my understanding. I assumed that once I graduated I would somehow feel fulfilled and validated and would truly “arrive.”
Well it’s now two years post graduation and I’ve managed to start my own ministry and still feel lost. When did following God get so hard? What have I allowed to get in the way of my relationship with my Father in heaven that has made me bitter, spiteful, entitled, and angry? I know the Christian formula of reading my Bible, praying, fasting and serving. Yet when I add all of that together it seems more of a chore and less of something life giving. Why has my heart been so heavy in all the wrong ways?
Tonight in that pet store I was reminded like a punch in the face WHY I entered the ministry. While my wife and I were talking and looking for a bird box for our pet squirrel a little boy with a big smile asked what kind of bird I had. I honestly can’t tell you why that hit me so hard but it did. I responded that I was looking for a house for my squirrel and asked him what kind of bird he was shopping for. He gleefully said that he was getting a Quaker parrot and after a few more short concluding sentences, as I felt tears welling up, I walked down the aisle out of sight from my wife and the boy. My eyes pooled with that warm saline some call tears, wow; it’s been a while.
There I was in the middle of a pet store on the reptile supply aisle crying like a baby and somehow pretending I could disguise it like I had allergies or some dust got in my eyes. My voice was shaking, my eyes were watering and my heart was hurting. I realized in that moment that I had lost sight of everything I wanted to be. You see that boy, the one with the aspiration of getting the parrot, he reminded me that my heart for ministry, my sole reason for wanting to serve, is wrapped up in loving kids (of any age) that need to feel nurtured and loved. Jesus calls us to love the least of these and real ministry is offering of your-self with no hope of reward in return. I have missed this. I could tell, in that way that you just know, that my new friend in the bird supply section came from a home that didn’t have much to offer in the way of finances. Yet he was full of joy just at the anticipation of getting a new feathery friend. He was preparing by getting his supplies and eager to tell me about it. When was the last time I was truly excited about anything? When was the last time I was truly content. WOW. God I’m sorry for my allowing my hurt and pain to get in the way of the vision you have given me.
Don’t get me wrong; I love doing what I do. I love Catching Creation with my whole heart and know it’s what God has called me to do, but in this short moment tonight it seems that by loosing sight of it I found my vision. Catching Creation isn’t Stan Lake traveling all over the country doing animal shows, although it’s a part of it. Catching Creation isn’t just about my web show and DVD series or even my books, although they are pieces of the puzzle. What God has called me to do is minister to kids, youth and families in an urban setting. Loving those that may never get a chance to go to a zoo, or feel welcomed in a church. My heart is to minister and love people that feel unworthy of being loved. People that our society seems to scoff at but people that Jesus desperately wants us to love in His name.
I have no idea how, moving forward, I will be able to support my family with this ministry. I put in an application at that pet store even though they aren’t hiring and who knows, maybe God will position me there as a light in the darkness to minister. Maybe there’s some other job on the horizon that I haven’t even fathomed yet which will allow me to truly love people in the name of Jesus. Catching Creation is who I am and what I was designed to do, but it’s so much bigger than what I’ve been doing lately. My prayer is that God will open doors so that I can minister and do outreach again. God continue to break me, continue to remind me of your love and Lord thank you for your grace. Lord send me, allow me to seek first the kingdom because I know you will provide for my family as we serve you. Lord please be with that little boy tonight and bless him, thank you for allowing him to minister to me and I pray we can be reminded of why we all serve you.