At the first night of the School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM) I felt led to go “all in” with my involvement with the School of Supernatural Ministry and at Pihop. Since my own experiences in inner healing prayer I have felt like I need to start praying with others for inner healing in their lives and Pihop needs more male team members for its inner healing prayer ministry. My own experiences at the Well were incredible, and I want to give back to others what I have received. After my own experiences of physical healing and my conviction that followers of Jesus should be regularly involved in seeing miraculous healings I want to volunteer at our healing services on Friday. I am even considering participating in worship at Pihop despite my reservations about playing music and leading worship again. Part of the drive to be so involved is that SSM and Pihop are places where I am seeing the miraculous happen. I know the more I see this, the more I will be encouraged in my own faith and the more I will be able to pray, act, and move in the Holy Spirit in ways I am convicted followers of Jesus should, but I do not.
However, being so involved on top of part-time school and part-time work is simply not sustainable. Towards the end of the night I felt convicted to quit my job at Fuller. While it is a small step to give up fifteen hours of work when I am really living off student loans anyway God is posing several questions to me.
First, leaving a job in a down economy is not the smart thing to do. My cost of living are going up and my school debt continues to increase as I am less and less sure of what I am going to do to actually get paid after graduating from Fuller and the SSM. While I want to be a good steward of the financial resources God has given me, I have seen the reality that there is no such thing as financial security. When I stop and think about it, I know God is bigger than my student loans or the recession. I have decried how many Christians seek to find security in their salaries and followers of Jesus should find their security in their relationship with God. By inviting me to quit my job God is asking me, “Do you really trust me in this?”
Second, I instantly realized God was testing me by my own words. That morning I had just written that the Kingdom of God was worth everything I am and have. I had previously told people at Pihop that if returning to ministry meant returning to poverty and receiving food from a food bank, it would be worth it. I had told the interviewers at SSM that if I had to drop something, school or work would be the ones to go, not my involvement at SSM. By inviting me to quit my job God is asking me, “Did you mean it?”
Finally, I realized that God was testing my willingness to be shamed by my family…again. My father has constantly dismissed my call to ministry, encouraging me to get a “real job.” He has told me for years that I will never be able to support a family on a minister’s salary and sown seeds of doubt into my ability to financially make ends meet for years. Additionally, while I was serving God in the ministry I started in Modesto I reached out to family for financial support as I raised support to stay as a local missionary. One of my cousins essentially told me I was not a real man because I was not working a “real job.” He went onto tell me that he knew my family needed money and I should be helping my family with finances, not asking for donations. I don’t know if he realized that I had offered my parents the $14,000 I had made at Costco and they had refused it. That money instead went to funding my ministry where I was essentially paying to volunteer. By inviting me to quit my job God is asking me, “Is following me worth being shamed and rejected by your family…again?”
I talked to my boss at the library on Tuesday about this and told him I would get back to him today about it. I did not want to do anything impulsive as I know this has been one of my character defects. I have prayed about it but reading my devotionals today really confirmed my decision.
In Psalm 4:8 the Psalmist records “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” In my Bible I already had “alone” circled and the words “God-security” written in the margins. Trusting that God loves me and is powerful to act on my behalf, not my job, my career, my bank account, or the opinion others have of me, is the only true source of security in this life.
Then later in Matthew 4:18-29 Jesus comes up to two brothers, Peter and Andrew, who were fishermen. He says to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” They “at once” left their nets and followed Him. I know from my studies that being a fisherman in that day was a relatively stable middle class type job, so this was no less dramatic than someone leaving a stable job as teacher, a doctor, or a businessman “at once” t the call of Jesus. Leaving a part-time job began to feel like a very small step of faith – but the small one I am being invited to take today – so it’s really the only one that matters. Additionally, I have just recently pressed again into Jesus’ dual invitation to “come to me” and “come follow me.” I need to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow Him again. He has led me to Pihop and SSM, not to work part-time at the library.
So I just sent an email to my boss confirming that I will in fact be quitting my Job at the Fuller library. I will be in the library less, have less to live on, and probably will not be able to cook expensive feasts for my friends like I want to. However, I also know this year I will be more able to receive the love God has for me, available to pray with others, and confident that as I pray for the supernatural intervention of God in people’s lives, He will show up in amazing ways. Overall, I think I am coming out way ahead in this very small sacrifice.
May this be a year where I can say as Peter said to the cripple, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”