If the truth be told I have accomplished a lot of creative and productive things over the last 51 years of Christian service that had next to nothing to do with the will of God. At the time, I would have passionately protested that all of the “great things” I accomplished were done in His name when, in reality, all of the “great things” were done in the name of “Bill”. Often, it was more about my serving to be seen and serving to shine than humbly serving Him.
When I look back over the course of my long pilgrimage, I confess that I have had my share of youthful ambitions, self-serving agendas and purpose driven blunders. Those things which I still believe had something to do with God’s leading and inspiration were generally those things that came to fruition when I wasn’t around to see it or get my sticky fingers all over it. Often the further removed I was from it the more fruitful my efforts have been. Yes, sorry to say, I have amassed an impressive list of dead works over the years.
The few ministry moments when God was all over what I was doing were like "Philip the Evangelist's" experience in the desert when he led the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ. (Acts 8) The eunuch was said to be “a man of great authority” under Candice the queen of the Ethiopians and in charge of all of her treasures. This was the powerful official Philip was instructed to meet. The final moments of that little story of divine appointment have always spoken to me. As soon as the eunuch was saved and baptized Philip was abruptly snatched miles away to Ashdod, far removed from the encounter. Meanwhile, the eunuch continued on his way to the subsequent evangelization of his country – without a friendly church invitation, follow up, “new believer’s classes” or any personal discipling by Philip.
To be sure, God extracted Philip for a reason. Could it be He didn’t want the eunuch tainted with any of Phillip either? Of course, I’m being fictitious but allow me to put it into a contemporary context we are all familiar with. Maybe He foresaw the potential of Philip getting in the way and side-tracking the eunuch from the divine plan he had purposed for him? Maybe God saw the potential in him for ulterior motives, hidden agendas or a secret desire for self-glory. Maybe He saw that Philip would somehow capitalize on the eunuch’s testimony or “use” it to his advantage as an evangelistic trophy like so many have done with celebrities and prominent people who have supposedly come to Christ. (Think -Justin Bieber, Bob Dylan, Kanye West & Donald Trump). Maybe they would co-author a series of best-selling books about their experience entitled, “An Appointment with Destiny”, “Secrets to Winning the Rich & Famous”, or “Your Best Evangelism Now,” Maybe they would take it on the road with a series of seminars on “Spirit Filled Evangelism”? Who knows? Perhaps this is the lesson that God wants each of us to learn?
The more I see Bill all over a creative endeavor, a ministry or a spiritual project the more I see Bill all over it. Yes, I confess that I was purpose driven for all the wrong reasons – Ambition, recognition, the praise of men, fleshly validation and yes, pride. Much more has been accomplished for Him by me simply trusting in him and leaving the driving and timing to Christ. He knows I am always at his service and He knows my address and phone number. I have found that if I patiently wait for him instead of leaning to my own understanding or kicking doors open in the name of Bill, He will call me when He needs me. This is how I now endeavor to do all that I do in the name of Jesus instead of the name of Bill.