Skip to main content

Wilderness Before Appearance

The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
-Luke 1:80

Have you been, or are you in the wilderness?  The wilderness is an amazing metaphor that the Bible uses for time alone with God, or time in preparation for service or ministry.  The wilderness may seem like a punishment and sometimes people are forced there by adverse circumstances not of their own choosing.

The way that vocational preparation, that includes a calling to the ministry, usually works, is that a young adult chooses or believes they are called or they come into an understanding of their desire to do a particular form of work.  They then prepare for that work in schooling or training and then get into that field of work and begin a life of that vocation.

But, what if you want to be like the people we read about in the the Bible, who are named, and who did certain things, that had impact for God's kingdom?  Every believer is called to live in the kingdom and let the kingdom have impact through their lives.  There are not two kinds of believers.

It is also a mistake or wrong headed to believe that the only ones that truly serve God are preachers, pastors, or missionaries.  On a white board, we could list every other form or kind of ministry, with a list of a hundred or more, and still come up very short.  God is very creative with what he has designed each person to do and his list of ministries is almost endless.

Whatever your dream, desire, or calling is; their is a wilderness component or time, sometimes.  I say sometimes, because it is not that way for everyone.  The wilderness is a place that God often takes his people to, and when he does it is for their good.

Mature believers love the wilderness, because they have learned how to find and live with God there.  God can take a person into a wilderness at any time, in the middle of their life-times, and do amazing things with them there.  True saints desire to go to the wilderness to spend time alone with God.

Jesus and John the Baptist were about age 30, when they began their public ministries.  I remember when I was a young adult and age 30 seemed older or mature.  My dad was pushing 50 and my grandparents were in their 70's.

I heard someone share that in the first century, that a man could not be a rabbi until he was 30 years of age.  Because at 30, you had a considerable amount of life experience and were considered an elder.  The average life expectancy, in the first century, was about 25 years.  

Many people did not live past the age 10, but if you did, you might live to be about 47.  So, age 30 then was like age 60 now.  Imagine if the church did not allow anyone to be called pastor, as in the position or title, until the age of 60.

Selah

What if every person who feels called to the ministry, to be a pastor, had to just do pastoral ministry and raise a family and be part of the community of God, in a sort of 'potential pastor' or 'pre-pastoring', before they turned 60?  And at the age of 60, they could be a pastor, because they have become a pastor, and they are frankly old enough and wise enough to be trusted as 'pastor'?

Look around at all the people up front who are under 60, who need to step down, because they are too young.  Stepping down means that they need to just work hard in their communities and raise their families together with others.  They can definitely serve along side of the older men and women.

What if we have it backwards, and our so-called prime years, in our 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's are all meant to prepare us for appearing in front of people at age 60?  The senior pastor, solo pastor, lead pastor, or leading church preacher who is under the age of 60 is a modern invention that does not line up with scripture.

Your first and easiest objection might be the first 12 Apostles.  They perhaps were not yet 30.  Remember I am saying that age 30 in the first century is like age 60 today.  You also would bring up Timothy.

Timothy and the 12 Apostles were not pastors.  They were not local church, lead pastors.  They were apostolic workers.

If you have a problem with the word apostolic, for today, think missionary, church planter, or evangelist.  What if it is God's plan or wisdom for planters and missionaries to be younger?  But those who stand up in front of groups and lead them need to be older, elders, people who are roughly aged 60 and above?

A guy in his 20's or 30's is not usually an elder.  People in their 40's are becoming elders and folks who are in their 50's are almost there.

When I found myself in a position of authority in the church, in my 30's; it was very gracious for anyone to view me as an elder.  I was a junior elder, lacking a lot of life experience.  I always sought out people who were much older than I, preferably people who were in their 60's.

This was purely common sense or perhaps a driving leading from the Spirit of God.  And the main thing that my older friends would do is listen to me and ask me hard questions, then listen some more.


What if God has people, like John the Baptist, who have been in the wilderness?  They have been living their lives, as disciples.  They have been growing and learning, loving and being productive in their spheres.

These people dream of appearing before people, for God, with words or deeds of God through their lives, that will be for God's glory.  But they have been not visible to many and have been in a wilderness that is depressing at times, because it has stripped away their dreams of service for the Lord, that they thought were from the Lord, and they received years, even decades ago.

The message or lesson in the scriptures is that the wilderness is an in-between place, preparing us for the future, which may be tomorrow, next year, or far down the time-line of our life.  Being in the wilderness does not mean you are done, but it means God loves you.

__________________________________________
For further study:

Isolation--A Place of Transformation In The Life of a Leader, by Shelley B. Trebesch
Rabbi and Talmidim, by Ray Vander Laan


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Two Disciples and The Two Donkeys

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task.  He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away.  Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said,  Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.”  The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
-Matthew 21:1-7

On what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. But, he had two disciples get two donkeys: a mother donkey and her colt. Jesus rode the young male who had never been ridden before. In his carefulness and perhaps kindness towards these two donkeys, he had th…

God's Secret, Hidden People

(The children) of Elam 1,254.  -Ezra 2:7

Do you feel hidden?

The name Elam means secret or hidden.  Do you feel like you are on the shelf, not being used by God?  Maybe you are part of God's secret agents.

God has people who are in secret.

I have this idea that God has His attention on secret people.   I believe that God has rewards for secret people coming.  You may feel on the shelf, but you are actually hidden for a special purpose.  God has you in reserve.

The number one thousand, two-hundred, and fifty-four; tells us God's plan for his hidden, secret, and in reserve children

One thousand speaks of recompense.

Recompense means that you will be compensated or made amends to, due to harm or loss you suffered. In Genesis 20:16 is the story of Abimelech recompensing Abraham and Sarah.

Two speaks of fellowship, partnership, and co-laboring (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

There are hidden people who have felt like they are "going it alone", who are about to be joined by someone.  …

God Will Always Bless Your Rest, by Graham Cooke

Graham Cooke:

"So in Genesis 2, by the seventh day, God completed his work which he had done and he rested on the 7th day from all his work he had done, and then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

God will always bless your rest.

Always.

Since I learned rest, there has never been a time when God has not blessed that rest and honored that rest and sanctified my rest.

In other words, set aside peace for me; set aside rest for me.

So, for me, therefore, when God blesses something and sanctifies it and sets it apart; what that means is rest is always available as an absolute essential for life.

So, every circumstance you encounter already has rest in the issue.

No matter how hard, no matter how harsh, no matter how difficult, no matter how awful; every single circumstance has rest, because it's the one thing that God has blessed and sanctified, in terms of his relationship with you.

So, it'…