Seeds Of Greatness
Returning To Our First Love
Have you realized when you drift away from God, you always stay longer than you anticipated and you go further than you ever thought you would go?
That’s exactly what happened to me as a teenager. I loved to read Bible stories as a five year old. There was a prayer of salvation at the back of the book. I prayed it and received Christ at an early age. Then as a teen-ager, I walked away from God and said I’ll be back. In Christianese, you could say I back-slid.
I won’t go into it but I can tell you my life took a downward spiral after that. You veteran Christians know the result of that decision. Anyway, on with my story.
Twenty-four years later, in 1987 I was a discount retail manager in the New Orleans and Louisiana area. I got promoted and my company moved me to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. I was so excited that I would be living a few miles from the ocean. Little did I know something bigger than that was brewing; my life was about to change forever.
One of my fellow managers in the area started to talk to me about God. I had already spouted out that he could talk to me about God but no preaching. I told him I hadn’t listened to any preaching in over fifteen years and I wasn’t about to start now.
He kept talking anyway. Sometimes, I would get up and leave. One day through a word of knowledge he said, “Father God said he wants you back. You said you would be back. He says he wants you back. Then he began to tell me a story. It was a story I read over and over again as a child. I read it scores of times.
He went on to say, “He says you’ll recognize this story.” He started to tell me the story of Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle. He reminded me of how Saul was busy breathing out threats and persecution of the Christians. And how a light shone from heaven blinded him and knocked him from his horse…Of course, after reading it nearly a hundred times I remembered immediately. I jumped up and said, “You’re scaring me now. No one could know those things about me.”
Later that night, I began to think about what happened. I began to wonder how it would be being back with the Lord. Could it even happen? Hadn’t I gone too far to ever be retrieved, to ever change? The rest is history. Weeks later, when I saw my friend again I was ready. He led me in a prayer. I recommitted my life to God. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.
When Did You Commit To Christ
Which brings me to the question I have for you. Do you remember when you committed to Christ? Were you a youngster, a middle aged adult or did you make a serious commitment, recently? Either way, you might consider marking that day; you know write it down, even memorialize it.
Why? Because you may need to refer to it along the way. When it gets tough or you get weary, it can be inspiration—food for your journey. At last, you need to pass it to the next generation. When they ask why is that day so special to you—you can tell them about your decision for Christ and what it means to you.
Remember the Israelites, Father God periodically would have them create a memorial for something. For example, when they first crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land he commanded them to have twelve priests each select a stone from the river bed and create a memorial on the bank.
They created a twelve stone memorial so that when their children would ask about it, they could tell the story of how God as a shepherd brought his people from Egypt into the Promised Land.
I’m serious; if you can’t mark a day, a year or even a season when you first believed or your heart was changed for Christ, you might need to return to your first love. Do an X marks the spot—I first committed my life to Christ.
Go over your story once again. Write down or record your testimony, at least tell it to someone afresh. Give them the short version. Don’t overload but do give it.
There’s another decision I want to talk to you about, for the same reason. Here’s the question. Do you remember when you first decided to serve God in your local church? When was the first time you volunteered in church or served on the Usher, Hospitality team or Children’s ministry? Or in our case, when did you become a Servant Leader or an Armorbearer?
Remember the first things. Think about how excited you were to do the things of God. Consider why you do what you do? Did you realize it was God prompting you, leading you to serve?
I remember back in Mississippi, my pastor asked me to help count the offerings on Sunday and serve on an accounting team that met once a week to take care of church business. I was new in the church and didn’t agree at first. To be honest, I had some wrong ideas about serving in church. I already worked long hours on my job. So in my mind why should I do that with no expectation of pay? But willing to change, I asked God what he thought about it.
It Is God At Work In You
Our friend and advocate the Holy Spirit spoke these simple words of Scripture to me, “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” –Philippians 2:13b
On through the years, it has been the source of my zeal—my relationship with Christ and His command through the Holy Spirit and Scripture that it is Him working through us all (as we allow Him) to do His will and good pleasure.
I’ve served in many different capacities by His leading and eventually became a servant leader that our books and ministry were birthed from. You can read more of our servant leadership story in our latest book ‘In The Spirit of Leadership by Varn Brown.
In closing, I encourage you to return to your first love and mark it. Even create a memorial, a testimony to encourage you when you’re weary in the battle. And above all to pass it to the next generation. Stir up the zeal of God to do His will The Hebrew writer said it best, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” -2 timothy 1:9
© Earma Brown, 12 Book Christian Author & Bible Teacher. Most leaders are strengthened by excited-about-God, glad-to-do-it people around them. Your leadership should experience that too! Earma is co-founder of Armorbearers International and Grace Covenant Church which offers help with designing strong teams of support for God’s leaders. Read more of these principles in Earma’s book In the Spirit of Armorbearing. Or visit the Shield Shop for other Helps Ministry, Armorbearer and Servant Leader resources. http://theshieldshop.com