God, Take My Thursday
Sunday, May, 22, 2016 | 9:54 PM | by Matthew Vandegriff
I don't know if there's any day less conspicuous than Thursday. Even Tuesday is better. But, of all the days of the week, Thursday just kind of gets lost. It is the Jan Brady when it comes to days of the week. But to one of our college sophomores who scheduled an appointment with me recently, Thursday was a big deal.
"I asked my boss if I could have every Thursday off to lead worship for the college Bible study," he told me. "I've been struggling with this decision for a long time." I was curious. I found myself thinking, "You're a musician." "You're a college student." "Where's the struggle in that?" He went on to tell me that he is responsible for many of his own expenses and he needs the money from working at the grocery store.
I decided to risk asking a question that you can't get away with asking after college. "How much do you make a week?" "I think it's $160," he said, which he confirmed by looking in his checkbook. "Yes, it's 160 because my last tithe check was $16. (Insert the sound of tires screeching to a halt here.) I was so proud and ashamed at the same time. Proud because a self-supporting college sophomore was choosing to give $64 a month from his modest wages as an act of faithful obedience. Ashamed because I had fallen into the trap that so many of us in ministry fall into.
Because we are so close to the work, it is easy for us, as pastors, to slide into the habit of minimizing the cost of the many sacrifices people make in God's church. I had lost perspective and I felt terrible about it. Thankfully, a 19 year old young man told me he was giving up a precious day's wages to meet a need in the ministry at Brainerd Hills. And, oh yeah, he's tithing out of the very little he's already making. Just to confirm, I asked if he was sure. He assured me that the Lord had been leading him to do this for a long time. It was as matter of fact as that. God won the struggle and I praise him for it.
What's your "Thursday?" It's easy to muffle God's voice or to distract ourselves with so many demands of life that we don't make time to give more than a fleeting consideration to what we're pretty sure God has been saying for a while now. The Apostle Paul lovingly assured the New Testament church that, "God is not a God of confusion but of peace." Many times his voice is clear. Peace comes through listening and loving him with obedience. Obedience.
I left the meeting that day praying that God would forgive me and help me better value all the families at Brainerd Hills and everything you all do and give for the Kingdom here. But I also found myself pleading with God to send more Christ followers with the attitude of the young man in my office that day.
What is your prayer? What is your "Thursday?" Is God to be trusted with it?
I hope you have a great week! -Matthew