While attending a leadership trade school six months after graduating from the University of Delaware, I was challenged to expand my comfort zone. Following eight hours in a classroom setting, nightly assignments forced me to go to local malls to develop my conversational skills by talking to complete strangers. One of the more meaningful projects was creating a 25 year mission statement. This involved career, ministry and personal goals that I wanted to accomplish before turning fifty. As I approach the half century mark next month, I feel like time has passed me by.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope, Jeremiah 29:11.
After getting married in 1995, my wife Leanne and I were active participants in youth ministry at a church in Bolingbrook, Illinois. A mutual goal was to volunteer at a local church when our three children were teenagers. Although I taught high school for a decade, my oldest son was in eighth grade my final year teaching. For one reason or another, I find myself waiting for the perfect time which has now come and gone. Subsequently, my oldest so James is married, Daniel is a senior in high school and Lydia a sophomore. This week I heard God’s still small voice whisper, “what are you waiting for?”
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that,” James 4:13-15.
My daughter attended a youth group last year which she enjoyed. This church provides a youth oriented church service on Friday night, but busy Spring and Summer schedules has kept our family from investing time there. Just as the Holy Spirit convicted me earlier in the week, common sense is now pleading me with “what are you still waiting for?” Perhaps, future blogs will share a proactive approach to God’s calling. Yet, for now all I can say is that I have failed to invest my time wisely. Therefore, it’s time to act now before our home becomes an empty nest.
by Jay Mankus