Work ethic & long-term change

One of the things that I've realized about myself over the years is that I have a bulldozer personality. I don't remember exactly when it was, but someone used that phrase with me back in 1997 or so. I've never been intentionally mean or arrogant, but I believe that in just being myself and trying to be a leader and a visionary, a completely different outcome was the result.

It is pretty amazing that God has begun to reign in that part of me and use it for good things. What amazes me is that it takes so long for these kinds of changes to take effect.

When I was in college I got pretty involved in Christian ministry with a couple different groups and while there was an amazing piece of foundation that came from that time, I also came up with some ideals for life that had long lasting effects...some not so positive. I began to believe that being involved in ministry of some sort was a "higher calling". I spent 4 years after college working a regular but flexible full-time job, pursuing the calling of ministry and trying to pursue music as a career.

At one time I was playing shows about twice a week, leading worship for a Gen X service on Saturday nights, raising support to do campus ministry and working 40 hours a week selling guitars for $11/hour. I can distinctly remember my thought process at the time.

"God wants me to be involved in reaching out to people, and working a regular job just gets in the way. I've also been given this gift for music and it would be a shame/sin to not pursue it. Lucky me, my wife has a pretty good job which gives me the flexibility to pursue these great things that God has for me."

So, there were a couple of key conversations that have set me on a journey over the last 8 years or so. The first was in a men's bible study group at my church. One of our elders, Creighton was in my group that morning and we were sharing a little about our histories. I spent a few minutes espousing the above theories to our group...not in a preachy way, just as a "Here's who I am". He proceeded to tell a story about a college ministry staff guy who he had met with briefly when he was going to school and how it felt that this young guy didn't have much life experience to minister with. He talked about work and career as a true vocational calling and a place where real ministry happens. I remember thinking that he was full of crap and writing it off. Somewhere in my mind, those ideas stuck although they wouldn't really flesh themselves out for another 3-4 years.

Next post will continue this story...