As pastors, we all have those people who have impacted our lives both in our every day walk and as we deliver God’s word. I am no exception. I am the first to admit that I’m a glorified thief, in essence we all are. First we are never the original authors of the messages we preach, that credit belongs to God. Secondly, much of my delivery and style are influenced by certain pastors and speakers that have been meaningful to me. I have several driving forces that I look up to. First there are my two mentors that have shaped the way I do youth ministry, Larry Overton and Jeff Williamson. These guys are my go to when I need help- Larry with the general youth ministry questions and Jeff with the inner-city ministry questions. They are, in my humble opinion, the best in their fields. I also have inspiration from fellow evangelists & speakers. Derwin Grey is a former NFL Linebacker and pastor of Transformation Church in South Carolina. Justin Lookadoo is a witty speaker who focuses his attention on troubled teens and relationships. Adrian Despres is with Kingdom Building Ministries and Chaplain for the University of South Carolina football team. That brings me to my final influence, Liberty University campus Pastor Clayton King. Tonight I was listening to one of Clayton’s sermons that he gave a while back during Liberty University’s Spiritual Emphasis Week. He was talking about the detours that our lives take and it really spoke to me.
Clayton used the illustration of Joseph and the detour that his life takes. Being the youngest and favored son of Jacob, he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, delivered by God to work in Potiphar’s house only to be seduced by Potiphar’s wife and accused of attempted rape. He is then thrown into prison (after doing the right thing mind you) where God once again delivers him into a position of prominence. Joseph is eventually elevated, by God, to his position along side the Pharaoh as the second most important person in Egypt. That’s some detour huh? Joseph, a boy of 17 or 18 was set to live his favored life on the family land until God had other plans.
We talk about bumps in the road or that a life takes a slight detour every now and then. These are usually detours that prove to be inconvenient at best to us at the time. Have we stopped to think, however, that these detours are necessary for us to accomplish the plan that God has created for us? Have we ever considered that the inconvenience that we experience during a detour is simply a product of our own selfishness? Think about it, why are we inconvenienced? We are irritated because something did not work out the way WE wanted it to. Things did not go according to OUR plans so we get frustrated, irritated, and infuriated at God for this happening- to the point that we even question if God is there. This is far from the posture that we should take during these times. Perhaps when life takes a detour, we should not consider it a setback. It may very well be a divine detour given to us by our creator to bless our lives. It is our incessant need for control and our lack of faith to allow God to be God that cause the inconveniences in our lives. The other half of that is that there is no guarantee that doing the right thing will make your life easier. The only guarantee that we have is salvation and forgiveness of sins.
Yet, even in these times of trial, God is with us. Take a look back at my synopsis of Joseph’s story. Go ahead, look, I’ll wait………………. You see it? No matter how bad things got, God was right there with Joseph every step of the way. He was sold into slavery- God delivered him. He was accused by Potiphar’s wife- God made him successful in prison and eventually elevated him to the second highest position in all of Egypt. You see this was not Joseph’s plan, it was GOD’S plan!!!
God is the great architect of our lives. He is our creator and he knows every step we will take; he knows every mistake we will make. He even had the foresight to send His son to die on a cross. You see, salvation isn’t just an end point, it’s a process. You find Jesus in the journey not just at the destination. He is there every step of the way and He is there at the end waiting to tell you “Well done good and faithful servant.” We just need to be willing to allow God to give us divine detours in our lives, even if that means we wind up in a pit being sold into slavery. You never know, that pit you are in, may just be God protecting you from something far worse.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach