Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia!
I was traveling from a meeting as District Superintendent of the Murfreesboro District when I called home to share with Rose that I was going to test the call to the office of bishop.
My call to preach the gospel to multi ethnic, interracial communities occurred during my childhood in the small county seat town of Ashland, Ala. However, the first verbal expression suggesting that I would one day become a bishop in The United Methodist Church occurred in 1984. This statement about being a bishop was shared with me 16 years before I was elected to the office of the episcopacy. I remember standing around a picnic table during a break at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. A well known lay person who worked with one of the Church’s general agencies said to me, “one day you will be among those elected in that place,” referring to the meeting site of the conference.
That statement became one of many signs that I would receive regarding being a bishop in The United Methodist Church. All the statements about the future were quickly placed on the back burner as I sought to focus on the task at hand. The mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ was my primary concern, along with how we could turn things around in the district where I was appointed.
I am sharing this story with you because I believe that it is very easy to get misguided and move away from the center of God’s will and purpose for our lives. Personally, I do not think we can know the joy of ministry and offer our best to God if we are trying to do or be something that is not in line with our anointing. My deepest desire is to be where God wants me to be, doing what God calls me do.
What about you? What do you want? Is it more money, more power, more popularity, another appointment, or a prestigious position? I believe that whatever we need, God will provide and much more.
As baptized believers we are called to constantly check our thoughts and motives under the scrutiny of prayer, self-examination, a humble heart, the mind of a servant, repeated signs, and friends whom we can count on to speak the truth to us in love.
I heard a story told by a bishop’s spouse during a meeting of the College of Bishops held in North Carolina. As the story goes, a very rich man went to a monastery to examine his life’s purpose. When he arrived at the monastery a monk showed him to his room. The monk opened the door to a room that was simple with a few essentials like a bed and table. The monk said to the rich man, “If you think of anything else you need, just let us know and we will teach you how to live without it.”
The 23rd Psalm teaches us that (when) the Lord is our shepherd we shall not want. Is God prompting to you to let something go – something that you can live without?
As baptized believers we are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. What else should we want?
Until next time, remember – God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.
James R. King, Jr.