What an interesting day today!
Let me go back a bit...
Ever since restarting my life six years ago, my desire has been to find a way to make an income without deserting my first love - which is to serve God and really make my life count for His Kingdom. And so, in the development of my business, byDesign Media, I've done graphic design work for ministry organizations, produced Christian magazines (The Crossroads Compass and 50 Plus), published Christian books and served on the Heart to Heart Marriage and Family Institute Board. Making money from secular endeavors was something I tried to avoid. However, I have come to the point where I realize that my idea of where I serve God and derive my income may, at times, differ from His.
Recently, a couple of Real Estate agents asked me to do some personal profile branding work for them and so I did. They loved the work and it became evident that there was a market for my services in that industry. Recognizing the potential for expanding my company, I designed a flier to focus on personal profile (branding) services and put together a package for potential clients. While I was somewhat intrigued by the possibilities, my heart wasn't in it because I felt I was letting God down by drifting away from 'ministry involvement.'
So - that brings me to this morning. I didn't really feel like going to church because I've gained some weight and didn't look forward to going out where it would be obvious. Having worked late last night, I was tired and very tempted to crawl back under the covers and hide from the world. Nevertheless, I got up,showered and managed to get the zipper on my pants pulled up.
Once at church, all the negative apprehensions and tiredness dissolved in the wonderful, warm glow of the presence of God. Following a incredible worship service, my pastor (at the Embassy) began to talk about transitions in life and the call of God at unexpected times in our lives. In the midst of it all, he mentioned that he was going to be speaking at a Real Estate conference this week. I thought "Wow - if God is opening doors for him to minister in the Real Estate market, maybe He has a purpose for me to step into the secular marketplace as well!" It was so odd for my pastor to mention real estate when I was having such a battle with the surrounding issues. I began to think about the importance of being salt and light in the world - not just in Christian circles. Marketplace ministry can be just as purposeful as pulpit ministry - sometimes more so!
Following church, I saw a disabled man who I knew lived about five miles from the church, walking out of the parking lot. Despite the fact that I was headed in the opposite direction, I stopped and asked him if I could give him a ride. I don't know him well, but have given him a ride on previous occasions. I have to preface what I am going to say with a bit of background information. This fellow is in his mid-thirties and, following a devastating car accident which resulted in brain injury and the loss of his wife, family, home and business, God has been doing amazing things in his life. He took him to Heaven at one point and then sent him back to earth to minister to people in specific ways. When Robert speaks a word over people's lives, it's usually right on and remarkable.
When Robert got into the car, he asked, "So - are you a real estate agent?" Somewhat surprised, I asked him why he connected me with real estate. He replied that I had the aura of a real estate agent all over me. Interesting. Weird.
When we arrived at his home, I began to feel that I should invite him out for lunch – but I really didn't want to because I was afraid someone might misinterpret us being together or whatever. Nevertheless, I felt so impelled to invite him that I finally could no longer resist and suggested that we go to MacDonalds because a friend had given me one of their gift cards for Christmas.
As soon as we went in the door, Robert made a beeline for a family (strangers) for whom he had a word from the Lord. As he spoke into their lives, the family was obviously overwhelmed with amazement at what was coming out of his mouth. By the time they left, we had made new friends and it amazed me how God had used Robert.
Well, then we sat down with our burgers and a young man came and sat at the table next to us. The ever-friendly Robert extended his hand and introduced himself, making the young fellow feel included in the situation. Feeling as though God had some sort of purpose in all of this, I asked Robert to tell me all about his experience in heaven. That led to some interaction with the young fellow (Ryan) and we learned that he was a Christian and a music teacher, but had been diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder and was on medication. Long story short, Robert prayed for his healing and, in the process of ministry, discovered that what he was praying with regard to some other aspects of his life, were right on target. It was so wonderful!
I ended up driving Ryan back to his work and on the way he expressed his amazement at the obvious divine appointment.
And I almost missed it! If I had given in to my desires to skip church or just drop Robert off at his house and ignore the prompting to take him to lunch – the divine appointment with Ryan and the other family wouldn't have happened. God's plan for Ryan would have been short-circuited.
Not only that! Had I stayed home from church this morning, I would have missed the two confirmations with regard to God's leading with my work! Now I feel as though I can put my heart into developing personal profiles (branding) for real estate agents and mortgage brokers and whomever else needs my help because God can give us opportunities to serve Him wherever we are – by design!