Quite often my greatest spiritual lessons are learned from every day happenings. And, come to think of it, Jesus, the Master Teacher, taught in that way as He lived here on earth to show us the way to God.
Recently, Lyn and I visited the Mennonite Church in Ritzville, Washington in response to their invitation to us to serve as interim pastors there. While there, we experienced the congregation as caring and supportive. As we shared together, it confirmed the mutual Spirit direction we experienced that this was a ministry we were being called to. We returned back home with the commitment to return to the congregation in six weeks.
Now, here comes the real learning part! Communication after we reached home, said that they had appointed a congregational member to work with us in furnishing the parsonage. We were to tell her whatever we wanted in the parsonage, in addition to what was already there, and she would make sure that we had it.
“Is that for real?” I incredulously thought. Many and various such thoughts processed through my mind. “Oh, we can just get by.” “I don’t want to ask for too much.” “I don’t want to be viewed as being selfish.” On and on. But with each of the “logical and practical” such thoughts, I was reminded that they really did want to know and then to provide. It was not only available to us, but we were encouraged to accept the offer.
How was I going to respond? Finally realizing that this was a serious request and it really was about equipping the parsonage for ministry, my attitude and actions were revised. In my email to the responsible person, I processed room by room in that home and visualized what could equip the home, not only for us to enjoy, but to enhance ministry. I made and shared my list and now that parsonage is being fully equipped, even down to new pancake turners, which I hadn’t even asked for!
The spiritual learning, which you have probably already figured out, relates to the teachings of Jesus, “Ask and you shall receive” taught in various passages. Just as we had been told to ask for desire in earthly furnishings, we have been invited to ask our Heavenly Father for the desires of our hearts. But, instead of accepting that offer, so often, there are a multitude of reasons that hold us back from following through with this. We act as if don’t really believe Him.
But my friends, of this I am sure, that our loving Father is much more inviting even than our hosts at Mennonite Church. As well, He has much more abundance that He loves to shower on us to enhance our lives. It is not selfish to ask. He loves to provide for us and for us to trust His promises and requests.
One of the most delightful, and crucial, gifts to ask for is the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives—providing answers and direction for us as we go through life. And actually, we may be limiting His work in and through us, because we are afraid to ask.
So, how much do you, do I, dare to ask? And more than that, will we follow through? If you are afraid you might not ask for the right thing or in the right way, remember that the Holy Spirit loves to guide and direct us and that is His work. Just ASK!
Blessings to you,
Jeanie Hershey, TVTD Spiritual Director