“Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.̓ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.ʼ” – Luke 9:61-62
Yogi Berra famously said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” We love to chuckle at the ambiguity of this statement, but have you ever found yourself at a genuine spiritual fork in the road? Sometimes God leads us to a decision point that requires trust.
In ‟Experiencing God,” Henry Blackaby calls this a “crisis of faith.” His “Reality No. 5” says, “God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.” What action do you need to take that He has led you to?
In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus tells a story about calling a man to follow Him who responded, “I will follow you, Lord, but. . .” Jesus remarked, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Oswald Chambers says, ‟If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark.” In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you believe through common sense and leap in faith toward what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.
Like the man in Jesus’ story, we tend to have our own “yes, but. . .” What is your point of hesitation? What is your “yes, but. . .?” God has a way of repeatedly bringing us back to the same issue until we finally surrender entirely.
Acts 13:18 refers to the Israelites who had just come out of Egypt when it says, “For a period of about 40 years He put up with them in the wilderness.” They were mired in the muck of unbelief while God continued to work to bring them to the point of trusting Him completely. Only then could they experience the “abundant life” in the Promised Land. In the same way, we can find ourselves wandering in our wilderness when we fail to “WIN NOW” by stepping out in faith and believing that God can provide for us even when the way is unclear.
After finishing my doctorate at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2000, I spent the next 15 years teaching at the college level. After eight years at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I was promoted to Professor and had thought that academia was where I would spend the rest of my career.
However, in 2015, God opened the door for me to join the full-time staff at First Baptist Dallas. I had been the part-time interim Orchestra Director while continuing to teach, but the position needed someone full-time, requiring me to resign from my teaching position. God had cultivated a love for ministry through this and other interim ministry positions, but I’m a preacher’s kid. I had seen firsthand how little job security existed in the church world when my dad got fired after 16 years of fruitful ministry. I struggled to trust God to provide for me in a life of full-time local church ministry.
Here we are eight years later. You might be asking, “Was it a win?” Are you kidding me? God has proven Himself over and over with blessing after blessing. It’s been surprising to see how God has used all my years of experience to prepare me for what I do now.
It’s not always easy, but there has been a clear affirmation of God’s hand in this move that I would have missed if I didn’t choose to WIN NOW.
Questions for Thought
1. What is your answer to Dr. Blackaby’s question,“What action do you need to take that He has led you to?”
2 . In what way might you be struggling to trust God in your next step?
Sometimes God lights our path with a flashlight, not a floodlight. Each day, accept what He shows you and trust that when you act in faith, He will reveal the next step, and you will “come to know God by experience as you obey Him” (Blackaby).
Learn more about Mission 1:8 WIN NOW here!
Dr. Joe Hardin
Associate Minister of Instrumental Music
With a background in college teaching and music ministry, Joe is very passionate about how instrumental ensembles draw God’s people together in corporate worship and therefore recognizes the opportunity for instrumentalists to use their gifts to glorify God and edify the church. Joe and his wife, Paige, have three sons.