November 15, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Courage and Cowardice

“Courage and cowardice – both are contagious!”

That’s a powerful statement, isn’t it? I don’t have a clue who said it.

I found it written in some notes that I have in my iPhone. I’m bad about doing that.

As I’m out and about and hear something that catches my ear I’ll whip out my iPhone and make a note. The only problem with that is, thinking I will remember who said it, I don’t notate who said it. Then, six month later, I haven’t a clue!

Truth is, there’s a fine line between cowardice and courage. To some degree, I think it is in the nature of every human being to fear the unknown. In fact, I once heard a story about a king in medieval times who would execute his prisoners by hanging them. On occasion he would give the condemned prisoner a choice as to how he would meet his fate. He could choose hanging or an unknown fate that was behind a closed door at the base of the gallows.

At one such hanging the king gave the condemned this choice. He chose to be hanged. The kings’ valet was intrigued by this process.  So, he asked the king what was behind the closed door. “Freedom,” replied the king. “But they always choose the known over the unknown!” And so it is today, people often fail to discover their destiny because of the fear of the unknown.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Greatness is not where we stand, but in what direction we are moving.  We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”

Yes, ships are safe in the harbor. However, they were not created for the harbor. They were created to sail the seas.  And they can only experience the thrill of the voyage by finding the courage to commit to the unknown of the journey.

I remember when I committed to the “unknown of the journey” of preaching and pastoral ministry. I was simultaneously green as a gourd – and scared out of my gourd! However, fulfilling the ministry God has called you into, or discovering your destiny, is something you grow into.

Pastor Larry Stockstill said it well when he said, “… Paul said to ‘complete the ministry God has given you.’ The day will come when you will put on your ministry like a custom-fitted jacket.  The preparation will be over, the ministry will fit you, and you will enjoy your calling for the rest of your life.”

So, what is my encouraging word to you today?  Muster the courage to sail on into your calling, giftedness, ministry, destiny, or whatever you prefer to call it. As you do, you will discover something. One day you will suddenly realize that the ministry or destiny God has given you fits you like a custom-fitted jacket.

Somewhere along the way you and your destiny became one. And the amazing part is that somehow, with all the heartaches, obstacles to overcome, and troubles and trials you encounter along the way, you discover you love it, and somehow can’t see yourself doing anything else!

I don’t know about you, but I sure do love doing what I do. Being a preacher and doing pastoral ministry is the calling and joy of my life! I can’t see me doing anything else! It fits me like a custom-fitted jacket.

In fact, I’ve moved from asking, “Why me?” to asking, “Why not me?” And I hope it is the same with you. If not, find the courage to do whatever it takes to discover your desiny.

“Courage and cowardice – both are contagious!”

Brother Aaron  

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