Sometimes the will of God feels downright irresponsible. You are called to make a decision or take a course of action that seems to make no sense. And if you do it, the people closest to you may think you are crazy. Even Jesus’ family felt that way about Him. But responsible irresponsibility means refusing to allow your human responsibilities to get in the way of pursuing the passions God puts in your heart.
Mark Batterson, “Wild Goose Chase”
It was a Monday (11/16/15, to be exact), and my board president had just left my office. “At the end of this school year, I will not be returning to my position as principal of the school.” The scene that had just unfolded, a short time before, was now on repeat in my mind. I had just told my “boss” that I was self-unemploying myself at the end of the school year and, for some reason, I had peace about the decision. The truth is, I had peace about it because I hadn’t just made the decision. It was something I had been praying and seeking counsel about for several months. Then, there came a moment (a few days before) where I knew that I needed to agree with the direction God was leading, walk through the awkwardness and take the leap!
You can read more about that day via a blog I wrote at the time.
As soon as I shared with friends and family about the direction God was leading, I received A LOT of feedback. Most of the feedback was quite encouraging — “Jim, we look forward to seeing where God leads” and “We’ll be praying for you!” Others were not so encouraging, “Why would you leave a stable job?” “You have bills to pay” and “Did you consider Felicity when making this decision?” I get it. People who care about me were scared for me – thinking I was making a very irresponsible decision because I had gotten way ahead of myself. Why would God lead someone to leave something settled, something comfortable, to pursue something unknown? You ever read the Bible? It is full of the true stories of men and women, young and old, rich and poor, called by God to do the uncomfortable, unclear, and sometimes what appears, in our human perspective, to be the irresponsible decision.
For the record, I am well aware I have bills to pay and I do think about how Felicity will respond to change. However, as I continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus, I am reminded that as much as I prepare and love my daughter, God is my ultimate Provider (taking better care of us…all of us…than what I or my bank account ever could) and He loves Felicity more than anyone.
“Our day to day responsibilities numb us to the possibilities around us and the passions within us.” — Mark Batterson
God does want me to get up and go to work, pay my bills, take care of my daughter, and even get the trash out to the curb each week. But all of those things are NOT what I have ultimately been called by God to do.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” — Matthew 6:33
When I tell or show others that I cannot pursue the uncomfortable, unclear, and sometimes what appears, in my mind, to be irresponsible, because of my age, education, financial situation, geographical location, and career plan, I have turned my responsibilities into an excuse…or as Batterson puts it, “I have irresponsible responsibilities.” Matthew 6:33 is not an invitation to God to agree with what makes sense for our budget, career plan, etc. It is God’s invitation for you and me to be more aware of the desires and passions He has put on our hearts…AND then to do them!
Now, James, don’t get all ahead of yourself! I know that is what some of you are saying, as you uncomfortably move in your seat, or prepare to switch back to your YouTube video you were watching. Hear me out….was Noah’s decision to build a boat in the middle of the desert a wise thing to do? Was it reasonable for Abraham, a very wealthy man, to pack his family’s things and go house hunting without any prospective houses? How smart was it for Moses to return to the land he had fled, as a fugitive, and tell the world’s most powerful ruler that he should agree to the demand of letting his free labor force leave? And what of those twelve men, who left their homes and responsibilities because a carpenter said, “Come and follow me”? And don’t even say, “But those people were from the Bible.” Of course they are! They were regular, flawed individuals who were passionately pursuing God and responded “YES!” When God called on them to accomplish His will. THAT is what I want God to hear when He asks me to do something. “YES! No strings attached Lord, YES!”
I sure hope someone who is reading this (in 2018 and beyond) gets all excited about the TRUTH that God still does call upon His people to take the leap and trust Him to guide and provide wherever He takes us. What is the desire God has placed on your heart? What might He be asking you to do? What responsibilities are you using as your excuse for not pursuing the next steps?
“If you succeed at the wrong thing you have failed! You can climb the ladder of success and find that it is leaning against the wrong wall.” — Stephen Covey