What if someone asked you to:
• Uproot your family from long time friends, community, and church and to move to a different area of the country?
• Step away from the successful career you’ve built, right at its pinnacle?
• Move with two of your three children currently in high school, including your oldest daughter who is about to enter her senior year?
• And if that wasn’t enough… to step out in faith and cut your salary by 70%?
What would you do?
At some point in our life, God allows us to experience a crossroads of faith. We are faced with roads whose paths diverge in both a proverbial and literal sense. It quickly becomes clear that a choice must be made, though the clarity of the right choice is not immediately evident. In fact, at first glance both choices seem “good.” You can image your family strengthened, your friendships warmed, and your future bright with serving the Lord along whichever path you see stretched out before you.
But then you take a closer look. You put on your special glasses that view things in light of eternity. And at the same time, you ask yourself questions about your motivation. “Is my choice of this path centered on my needs, my goals, and my expectations for the future…or is it focused on what God can do through me for others needs, others goals, and others dreams for the future?”
The question one faces at the crossroads of faith is “Which way will I turn?” What will we follow after…the Pursuits of this world, or the Passions of the Kingdom of God?
This is the crossroads we found ourselves at a few months ago. Dr. Al Weir, respected oncologist and friend from Memphis, was stepping down from the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) where he had served as Vice President of Campus and Community Ministries (CCM). His departure left a large void for a replacement to help guide the vision and ministry to CMDA’s 17,000 Christian doctors and students across the country.
With a 20 year history of involvement in the ministry of CMDA -- from medical student leader, to community involvement with the Indianapolis CMDA chapter, to 12 years of leading short term missions trip with Global Health Outreach, to serving on the CMDA Board of Trustees for 3 terms-- my family and I were asked to pray about making a huge change and step away from practice to minister full time with CMDA.
Not a simple decision! After all, things were going well, and I was quite content right here in our Indianapolis suburb. I had been blessed with a successful practice and was respected in my field. I was involved in a growing church, teaching an adult Sunday School class and serving as a Deacon. I was privileged to serve on the Board of an outstanding Christian school. I had led hundreds of students and doctors on medical missions trips over the last decade. And I was already very involved with the ministry of CMDA here in Indy and on the national Board of Trustees.
But Jodi and I sensed God was calling us to more—to completely step away from our power zone and to “Follow me” as Christ called His disciples.
The more I thought and prayed about which path to choose at this crossroads of faith, the more I considered the call of Jonah. Now, I don’t mean to imply that CMDA is wicked Nineveh in need of repentance! Rather, just like Jonah, I could simply turn and run in the other direction…the one that suited me best.
But knowing that I’d just as soon not be bleached any whiter than I already am by hunching in the belly of a great fish for three days, I fast forwarded to Jonah’s prayer from that gastronomical cavity. Jonah 2:8-9 concludes his prayer that “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.” Jonah “got it.” (And by the way, it was right after he got it that he got out…upchucked by that fish right onto the shore.) When was the last time I performed a “worthless idols” examination of my own life? Right now seemed a pretty good time.
As Jodi, the kids, and I prayed about this invitation to enter full time ministry with CMDA, we all began to feel a peace about this call. Things that once seemed important began to fade in comparison to the eternal value of “the grace that could be ours.”
Finally, we found our goal (and I say our because truly this calling involved the whole family) could be described in three parts:
1. That we be worthy of His calling
2. That God would fulfill every good purpose that He has for us
3. and that we would fulfill every act prompted by faith in the One who called us.
As we looked at this choice of crossroads in this light (see 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12) the right path for us started to become clear. We wanted Jesus Christ to be glorified in our lives, by His grace.
So, in faith, we step out, leaving many precious friends and leaving the crossroads, and with joy trade the Board room for the work room!
If you would like to check out just what the Christian Medical and Dental Associations are all about, take a look here: http://www.cmda.org/
If you are wondering what all this talk about a “calling”, following after the “Kingdom of God”, and leaving your “power zone” is all about…take a look here: http://www.needhim.org/ It could literally change your life, as it has mine!
We are grateful for your prayers as we begin our journey down this road. Keep an eye on the website, where I’ll keep the journal of our experience going!
May God bless you, as you face your own crossroads of faith.