Are You Called To A Difficult Task?
In Haggai chapter 1, God, through his prophet, is confronting the Israelites for taking care of themselves before they took care of the house of God. The temple was in ruins yet many of the Israelites had built homes and livelihoods with no regard to its state. In verse 2 the people are recorded as stating it’s just not the right time to rebuild the temple.
They could have had a lot of “valid” reasons. Maybe there were not enough funds. Maybe they didn’t have enough time. Or maybe they were waiting for things to line up perfectly before they began. Whatever their reasoning, God was having none of it. It is easy in life to put things off until tomorrow. God asks us to do something, but instead of being instantly obedient, we have to evaluate the probabilities, count the cost, and wait for that third confirmation from Him so we know it’s time to take action.
Recently though, I met a man who shattered all of those thought processes. While traveling in western Uganda to encourage and train pastors we arrived at the small church building where the conference was to be held. It was not what I was anticipating. It was built from mud and sticks and in the middle of a banana tree plantation.
During the training, we were introduced to the local pastor who was hosting the conference. The other pastors asked if we knew his story. They shared with us how God told the pastor to plant a church in this remote area. He was provided with land but had no means to build upon it. He then moved his wife and two children to the land he had been given. There they lived under the banana trees for months.
He and his family began to frame up a building using sticks they gathered. After the framework was done, they mixed mud and wet clay together to fill in between the sticks to create the building’s walls. Others saw his vision and donated metal materials for the roof. As the building was being built, he moved his family into the church where they lived as they finished the construction.
After the building was finished they began to invite people to come and learn about God. Then later the pastor then started to work on building a home for his family. As of the time of our trip his home was not completed. He had finished the walls but the home was in need of a roof. Several of the attending pastors offered to donate materials to complete the roof to his home.
As I recount this story, I am moved by the man’s devotion and obedience to God. He did not allow excuses to become reasons for not obeying what God called him to do. Instead, he used what resources he had and trusted in God’s provision and protection for his family. It is easy to procrastinate when God is telling us to step out and trust Him. We can easily use, “We are counting the cost” as the reason for procrastination. And while scripture does tell us to count the cost, we must realize that often the cost is going to be more than we are comfortable with when following God. The cost will require trust in God’s provision and direction.
In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus shares with us that we do not have to worry about what to wear or to eat. He reminds us that God will provide for us just as he clothes the flowers of the fields and feeds the birds. That He already knows our needs before we ask. He then encourages us in verse 33 to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
As we step out into the unknown trusting that God we have to recognize that He will provide for what we need to accomplish the task He has called us to, not necessarily what we want. The pastor’s family didn’t live in ideal circumstances while he built the church, but God did provide for his family and the materials to build the church. It took sacrifice and vision. In 1 Chronicles 21, David was to build an alter for God and asked to buy the land and materials. Araunah offered to give him all the land and materials needed for free. However, David responded, “I insist on paying full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” David not only counted the cost, but he also was willing to pay the cost to do what God had asked of him.
Is God calling you to step out into the unknown? Is He asking you to accomplish a difficult task? If so, are you willing to not only count the cost, but invest deeply into your calling?