You are a life giver.
By definition that means you are surrounded to some degree by messy people who need the flavor of life you have available.
It is part of being a Noble Subject. Because we have been given much by God, we joyously pass those treasures on to others who are on a journey.
But suddenly in this season, God is directing many Noble Subjects to pull back from some relationships they have been in for a long time.
It can seem hugely counter intuitive to walk away from some of the people who have been investing in us, or people who have been peers, or hurting people we have been investing in.
Regardless, there IS a time to disconnect from some people.
This is the first of a series of blogs dealing with some of the constructs that require reconfiguring our community in this season.
I am writing these not to encourage you to break relationships. I am writing to give you the view from 30,000 feet of why God might have initiated the restructuring, so that the devil cannot get in there with false guilt over your “disloyalty” or your “elitism.”
Here is the first of many legitimate reasons we see in Scripture for restructuring your relationships.
Time for a lurch.
Typically, growth in a community is rewarded by incremental repositioning.
Think about high school football.
You start out on the second string in Jr. Varsity. As you get better, you make the bench on the varsity team. Improve some more, and you get to play a few downs late in the game. Improve some more and you get sent in on critical plays. Get really good and you become a starter.
It is the same for the pre-adult series of transitions. The five-year-old, and the ten-year-old and the 15-year-old each have different capabilities and should be granted a different place in the culture, with more privileges added as they develop requisite skills.
At times, God places us in a culture that freeze-frames us in a small place. You have two choices. You can rage at the community for not recognizing your worth and giving you options to use your assets, or you can double down on privately developing your treasures while no one celebrates you.
This is what Jesus did.
He had fire in His belly at 12-years-old and had proven excellence in His knowledge of the Word. The outside world – Teachers of the Law – celebrated His excellence. His GOD-GIVEN FAMILY dissed him for worrying them and packed Him off home to work in the construction industry for another 18 years.
Nazareth as a whole was utterly unwilling to acknowledge His growth and His worth. But He stayed there until the appointed time, developing a deeper and deeper knowledge of the Word, preparing for ministry, without any apprenticeship.
Not the first time in human history that a community has refused to acknowledge the presence of one of God’s treasures in their midst.
When it was absolutely time to begin His ministry, Jesus knew that His family and hometown would not accept the lurch from being a nobody to being THE Somebody of all human history.
He knew He could not afford the emotional and functional drag on His ministry that staying there would cause. It was not His job to help the town overcome its issues with Him.
So, He left.
He left clearly, unambiguously, and permanently, going to a place where He could start His ministry with a roar, instead of having to claw His way up a smooth wall, while people were pulling Him down.
If you are in that kind of community, you have three questions to ask yourself.
1) Did God put you there? (Hint: If that is your family, the answer is Y.E.S.)
If so, no matter how hard it may be to be dishonored and displaced and overlooked and devalued, it is only painful, NOT A BAD THING.
2) Have you invested time in unpacking your treasures? If so, yay for you! You are a keeper. If not, then you better not be fussing about THEM when the problem is YOU.
3) Is this GOD’S appointed time for you to move from private growth into a dramatic lurch in public ministry?
If so, pack your bags, say goodbye, don’t expect understanding or kindness, and go meet your destiny.
But ONLY if this is God’s time to shoot you out of a cannon because you have worked hard to develop your resources, in private, with no support and encouragement.
The COVID-19 season is a time of death and birth.
God is launching new businesses and ministries and families and sundry other things in this season. Don’t allow the news to color your view of this time. It is NOT exclusively a year of disaster.
If you are well prepared and this is your time according to God, square your shoulders, prepare for people to say a bunch of unkind stuff, and go be dangerous.
It IS legitimate to leave a community and a family that absolutely does not believe in your competence and your calling, in order to position yourself for the grace of God to flow through you.
Copyright by Arthur Burk
Thanks this line of thought gives structure to the season that I am in.
This has sat in my inbox for weeks. I just now got to it. Timing Perfect!
How interesting they way this spelled out my entire year with precision. You have a way of languaging life with finesse. :-)
During COVID our (traditional) church seemed to burrow downing go to sleep. The oldies in the congregation felt abandoned with many too frightened to mingle even when there was not a single COVID case in the community for many weeks. From the beginning I decided to use my time wisely by reading and learning from your work and from Peter Toth. By October, I felt it was time to change churches and move to one that put Jesus at the centre. This article has confirmed my conviction that Jesus wants us to step up and step out in his name, in our community, not cower down in fear. COVID has stripped the veneer and shown up the structure - and some churches have been found wanting (Rev 3 - church of Sardis). God certainly uses anything, even chaos to open our eyes, centre on Him and journey with Him.
It is amazing what God has done and the resources he has provided with our startup ministry in the middle of the chaos of the COVID pandemic.
Yes, there is something to be gained by even the humble position of “squaring my physical body” in the midst of God’s time of transition.
This message is right on time.
I had a LONG struggle with rejection, abandonment and whatever clings to those ugly critters! But God is always so graciously to the point with me
Something for me to pray on as my family does not support me in ministry much at all. I have good home fellowship here that encourages growth. Thank you for this subject as I can discern whether to go or stay.
Thanks Arthur for, once again, hitting the bullseye! You’ve described our situation beautifully and with the sound of the Father. It’s both comforting and energizing to know we’re not flying solo in this thing.
Time to hunker down, and listen; God understands what we have the grace for, and what we have to let go of. The thing to remember (why knowing which voice is speaking is critical) is that the enemy knows our giftings, and our capacities as well, only he wants to overwhelm and derail us, often using guilt.
Thank you Arthur,
I felt like you were talking to me directly in most of this post. I found it quite startling!
What did you mean when you said this is only painful and not a bad thing?
Did you mean that it’s not a bad thing because there’s a solution to it when we leave the devaluing family and friends? It’s not bad if some have not celebrated us because Christ was not honoured in his home town and it didn’t hold him back from unpacking his treasures privately?
Thank you for this!
Pulling me of the "false guilt" wagon before the ride got comfortable..
Thank you so much for both. Both very timely.
Bless you appreciate your emails.
Thank you very much, Arthur. I was wondering if it was only me being stuck in a sticky place. Just this morning I was asking the Lord why I feel like I am stuck in a birth canal or something, and then your post came through. Blessings!
People are blessed to be part of you SLG
I feel like a member of the church at Philadelphia:-fairly insignificant but standing at a door that only my Lord can open and no-one will be able to shut. While I have spent most of my adult life praying for the Lord of the harvest to kick the labourers out into the harvest I know that my time will come too. Most of my adult life I've interceded for family and others to go out into world-wide ministry but I suspect that Abba's place for me is here in order to work with refugees and immigrants.
At birth my name was changed from "Linda Jean" to "Lila Jean" and I think God had a hand in that. "Lila" is a name with a peculiarly Arabic romantic story, a Romeo/Juliet story with the woman in lockdown and her love a wandering minstrel celebrating the wonders of "Lila" all over the Arabic world. Very romantic and gave rise to the idea of "falling into Lila" when you fall madly in love with someone completely inappropriate.
At the same time, "LilaJean" is a Hebrew construct that means "Night is the Gift of God." How appropriate for someone prone to depression and bound to family and husband who either travelled the globe or composed 36 unpublished books.
At 74, I'm now a widow living 400 miles from my birth family and I get an inkling that my Father has something else for me; that I am about to be thrust into unexplored territory involving technology and incoming strangers. I'm both excited but apprehensive. "My Lord knows the way through the wilderness; I all have to do is follow:" an old travelling song from my birth family!
Replied by : Arthur Burk
bless you dear brother this was food for my spirit :D
keep up the great work~!! 1 Cor 15!!!
Thanks Arthur, you’ve nailed this for me. Husband passed away, I moved away from my support network to a familiar past residence believing this was a temporary time to grieve rest and recover. I’ve quickly made new friends here but now feel led to move again to a totally new place.. different state even . Been trying to process the why’s pros and cons, but figure I’ve already pushed out a little from the shore then Jesus will meet me in the deep
Dear Arthur, once again, you have put it in language for me! That a new venture that my family have just thought of only a few weeks ago is from the Lord (move back to the city where our extended family is & start a new business)! So timely! In a way, Covid has pushed us towards that direction. I have lost track on how many times the Lord has used SLG messages to answer my constant questions to Him. This week has been exceptional, I think I have counted 6 of them! With this one having the greatest impact because this one involves a lot of undertaking. I actually didn't "pray earnestly" and requested a Q&A from the Lord, this message seems to turn on a green light for me! Thank you so very much again! God is Good & He cares! Can't wait to hear more teachings on this topic!
Thank you for this word of encouragement and insight. It gives me courage to press on!
The biggest change in our (my wife and me) lives was in early 2010, when Yehovah took both of us simultaneously out of the institutional church, even before we got married. Right away God moved me into jail ministry and I had a blast each night, I went and I learned at least as much as the ones I ministered to.Then we moved for a better job that didn't last. After that I asked Yehovah where to move to and the answer came before I finished the question. So we live in southern MO now for five years on minimal existence rather content. We have had home fellowship with a few locals but it all died out, mostly because I got very drained from people who were just sucking me dry without ever giving. So I had to pause, think and regroup. But we were still just taken for granted, used and drained again. So I wrote all my experience in a book to not constantly having to repeat myself and trying to explain everything in one conversation that took years to learn.
But a year ago we got to know a couple we are buying milk from. Over time we found that we are very much on the same level and can bounce of of each other. It's an hour drive on way, but I am now looking forward to it.
2020 has been an interesting year so far. This absolutely give language to what I have been experiencing. I am so glad that I am ‘normal’.
Now I am okay to go pursue the next phase of my calling without guilt or remorse!
Arthur, thanks for this. People have been saying to me, several in the past few weeks, "How did YOU come out of THAT?" (meaning my dysfunctional family). You have provided the answer. My family of origin has never acted as it I matter at all, never recognized my gifts or value. Now that my mother just passed away, once her estate is settled (which may be a nightmare), I was planning on doing exactly what you describe here. But I felt guilty. Now I don't have to feel guilty at all. I have an amazing business/ministry God has given me, because I've invested in unpacking and sharing my treasures, and I sense it's time to go full boar into it. Thanks for giving me the permission and the nudge.
Yes and Amen! Thank you so much for this post Arthur. It DOES feel weird but this is great encouragement. It's also confirming the different perspective that's been in my heart for awhile. 2020 really has been a season of calling out of and calling into for so many. Looking forward to the rest of your posts on this topic.