Publication: One-to-One, Autumn 2013
Significant Opportunity Requires Significant Change
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby had a famous series of comedic films: “The Road to Singapore”, “The Road to Zanzibar”, “The Road to Utopia”, and many other “Road” movies. I have a series of not-so-famous “Road” stories such as “The Turtle in the Road” and “The Possum in the Road”, and now, that illustrious series is about to become a trilogy.
As I was driving to work early one morning recently, I saw a little squirrel staggering across a patch of grass carrying a large pine cone in his mouth. The pine cone was bigger than the squirrel, and I was admiring the strength and determination of the squirrel to deliver what promised to be a large food supply to his secret stash. Unfortunately, the squirrel’s pre-occupation with his burden made him unaware of his surroundings, and he tottered out into the street, directly in the path of my car.
Thank the Lord, this story has a happy ending. Because I was watching him, I was able to brake, swerve, and avoid ending that squirrel’s life. He suddenly looked up at me and the dangerous car, eyes wide … but teeth still firmly gripping the pine cone. Had I not been alert, his task could have killed him.
There is a time to hang on and a time to let go. Whatever season we are in, we should remember to “let God be God.” I used to hear friends such as Don Basham and John Bigger use that phrase a lot. Perhaps I need to be reminded of that on a regular basis!
At any rate, the same week I saw the squirrel, I resigned as Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile, after serving the congregation for nine years. I will continue to serve the church as an Elder, but I am going to be focusing much of my time and ministry on the continuing work of CSM Publishing and Charles Simpson Ministries. Other good and capable ministry allies will continue to carry Covenant Church forward … God has told me to put it in His hands and in theirs.
I look forward to working with them, while being free to travel in ministry, write, speak, and serve other pastors and their families. I am also excited about working more closely with my Dad in this stage of his own ministry journey.
Years ago, I remember singing a song about how I was going to hold on to God. But the Lord reminded me that the bigger issue was that He was going to hold on to me. Sometimes we need to remember that He is the one Who holds us all, and that there is no power that can snatch us out of His hand. I am not only “prone to wander” but also “prone to strive” in my own strength. May He deliver us from both.
Learning how to trust Him, even when I am called to work hard, is a lifelong journey. He promises that we can have rest and peace, even in the midst of our labors or difficult circumstances. Autumn is here, and Winter is coming. But He is the God of all seasons. Some may feel frantic as cold winds blow … the urgency to store and stock up and brace ourselves for ice and snow.
Some in our society are hoarding food, building castles and fortresses, and fleeing into the wilderness. I saw one family on TV who is building catapults for the coming war. Zombie apocalypse, anyone?
The people who know their God will display strength and take action, Daniel 11 tells us. This is neither the time for apathetic passivity nor for frantic fearful striving. This is a time to seek God, trust Him, listen, and do what He says in a spirit of faith and hope.
Scripture Reference: Daniel 11