Back in the early nineties, I decided to do a career assessment. I was searching for answers, and I was somewhat confused concerning Thee Almighty’s plan for me. I was a minister of miscellaneous, a generalist who did quite a few things, but none of the tasks were up to my self-imposed standards. At the time and I simply wanted to do one or two things well. I filled out numerous evaluations, reflections, and I think a few tests for mental and intellectual stability. The process was thorough, lengthy, and involved a sit down with a licensed counselor who would evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and what vocation I was most suited for. It was rather enlightening when I received my assessment. I was informed that I was artistic, literary, outdoorsy, and antisocial and that I would be most comfortable in my calling if I chose to be a bus driver or a hairdresser. I was disturbed by the antisocial element in my profile but soon realized the data was skewed in this category. I was in the midst of a major league funk at the time. I was mad at the world and the one who made it. I was so disturbed that I probably would let the credits roll at the end of Old Yeller without the shedding one tear or feeling any sense of compassion for any of the characters in the Nicholas Sparks novels of that time period. I was however intrigued by the literary assessment. I thought to myself maybe I am a writer. It sounded good. I could put that out there and start wearing tweed and smoking a pipe. I would pursue this a little adventure starting with my church newsletter. I decided I no longer wanted to do a newsletter that was basically a timeline or a commentary on the goodness of the green bean and onion ring casserole at the last covered-dish lunch on the grounds. I was gonna write something crazy or at least a little out of the left field and it all began with an article entitled “Why I Love My Church More Than Clemson University” and progressed to a three-part soap opera script about a washed-up youth minister entitled “The Young And The Youthless.” The folks at my church at the time seemed to like these random thoughts from my deranged mind as individuals started encouraging me to write more of these questionable essays. I soon discovered at the tender age of thirty that I loved to write. Plain and simple, my desire to write increased to the point that it is truly enjoyable. When I was called to the pastorate 20 years ago I realized I even loved the study and research involved in sermon preparation and expounding on the scriptures in new ways.
As of late, I have found it most difficult to present sermons and even speak “off the cuff.” I write what I consider to be God-inspired masterpieces only to flounder in presentation. It can be truly frustrating as if my words can’t make it from the page to the brain, vocal cords, and finally to the tongue and lips.
I have noticed something quite similar in my study of scripture and prayer and practicing the presence of God and acting on his leadership at times. I read the bible and I experience His inspiration and I want to change my ways, change the community, and change the world only to discover that my efforts fail to leave the inspiring page I read or the encounter with God I experienced.
Do you think God gets frustrated with those he created who fail to move from good intentions to positive actions, efforts, and endeavors?
With the help of this congregation, I am able to handle the disconnect between thoughts on a page and words from the pulpit. God forgive me when I fail to address the disconnect between inspiration and action.