Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth (1 Corinthians 1:26 TNIV).Who are you called to serve?
Are you facing a roadblock? I'm not talking about a minor detour, I mean a "stop you in your tracks" wilderness time? Jim was there, and the story of his journey is inspiring.
After his divorce, a distraught Jim Palmer left the pastorate and began a wilderness journey to find what he was born to do. He devoted himself full-time to the searching.
Thinking every person is born to do something: A-Rod, baseball; Bono, music; Gates, computers; Warren, purpose-driven guru; and I was Jim Palmer. "To Be Announced."
In the meantime, he worked odd jobs on the side until it emerged.
Jim tried a construction gig ... carpet selling ... for a time he was the cashier and more at CJ's Cafe ... then he endured a Christmas season working the back sector at Kolh's. But it was still illusive.
With each sheet of plywood, carpet measurement, pot of coffee, and folded towel, I was sinking deeper and deeper into confusion and discouragement. I was barely able to pull my aching body out of bed for my construction job. How was I supposed to have my morning quiet time with God?
It was a wilderness time.
During these days of downward mobility, Jim found escape in the local Waffle House. There was little chance of running into someone from his past (they would be in the Cracker Barrel). It was his oasis ... except for waitress Wanda, the talker.
She was a durable woman with a difficult and storied past written across the wrinkles of her face. And she bantered with everyone.
One afternoon Jim was drinking coffee and reading one of his Christian books. Wanda warmed his coffee and offered him conversation.
"Honey, I read all that stuff. Started back in my AA days."
"Do you go a church anywhere, Wanda?"
"I work on Sundays, hon."
She left for other customers, then returned, "Besides, I tried all that once and it never worked for me. I guess it does for some people. I could never be one of them. They don't want people like me. That's what I found out. Anyway, this is my church right here."
On his way out, Jim stopped to respond, "Wanda, I'm sorry if…"
"Jim, honey, don't you go being sorry. I just never seemed to fit in at church, you know? I'd sometimes be in my uniform, and folks stared like I was some kind of prostitute. I ain't no whore! I'm a waitress. Never finished high school, Jim. That preacher was way too smart for me. I ain't afraid to admit it. Let's just say all them fancy words don't mean much at Waffle House. Now don't you think another thing about it, hon. Shoot, I might go back yet. Teach'em a thing or two."
Visit after visit, Jim listened to Wanda's teaching. She told of the Christian group who would pray before their meal, complain about everything, then leave a Christian tract for the tip.
Jim was immersed in a world of nobodies, and after a while God revealed HIS calling. He was called to them, to this cast of characters, these nobodies that were outside the walls of church.
Perhaps the best question is not what are you called to do, but who are you called to?
Jim Palmer put his search for it in a great little book, "Divine Nobodies". I encourage you to read it!
I think, in one way or the other, Jack Nicholson's famous words are poignant here: "You can't handle the truth!"
Can you? It's risky! It's worth it!
What is God's Spirit saying to you about this? Email me, I'd love to hear from you! My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org