Nearly a decade ago I was in a situation I had never been in before. A church in another state was talking to me about becoming their next pastor. Part of that process included providing a detailed history of my pastoral leadership experiences. I can still remember looking at the questionnaire they sent me and wondering where to begin, mainly because my pastoral leadership experiences began long before I was ordained.
I grew up in the home of a pastor, so I was very well acquainted with the highs and lows of vocational ministry. I knew that sacrifice and struggle were part of the deal; my parents never hid that from me. But there was so much more to it than that, and, thankfully, my parents never hid that from me either. Our home was alive with God. There was laughter and joy and celebration. There were expressions of gratitude and affirmation. There was life. And though it may sound cliché, I knew from a very young age that my parents were clinging to Jesus every step of the way. Their faith was real, and that was what sustained them (and continues to sustain them) through the good times and the bad. That simple lesson has had a profound impact on me. The circumstances of our life are always in flux. Jesus is the one constant. Trust him. My parents still echo that same sentiment today. They live by it. I hope and pray that my life and ministry are shaped by their example.
My parents understood the importance of foundations, and they passed that understanding on to my siblings and me. We’re the beneficiaries of their decision to build their lives on the rock (Matthew 7:24-29). As pioneering church planters in New England, I’m sure there were times when they wondered if they had made the right decision to leave family and friends in the Midwest in order to follow Jesus into one of the least evangelized areas of the United States. But Jesus compelled them to go, and in just a few short years a flourishing church was established that ministered to the needs of hundreds of people.
Every day we have a choice: to build our lives on the bedrock of Jesus Christ—his words, his life—or to foolishly build our lives on the sand. Which one will you choose?