It was one of the hardest, but one of the easiest text messages I have ever sent. Within a moment of typing the words, my wife read them, “I’m done.”
Since entering into full-time ministry into 17 years previously, I had only said those words two times before. Both times were hard, yet they were the release of a burden that I was bearing. When I entered into ministry, I just wanted to help people. Ultimately I wanted to help them go to heaven, but I know the words of Christ would bring them a better life leading to heaven. I just wanted to help.
Only a few people ever sat me down and told me the ins and outs of ministry. A few were forthright in letting me know it was a tough, difficult road, but the blessings were beyond imagination. After all, what could be better than sharing the message of a living God, a living Savior and a living Spirit?
Admittedly, in those 17 years I made quite a few mistakes. Some mistakes where big and some were small. Many times it was out of a sincere heart, but a blank mind. I had begun projects that were huge and not gave the vision to the others to complete them. Other times I opened my mouth without the wisdom to keep it shut. At other times, I went on my sincere thoughts hoping others would be others to pull the load; only to be left alone. It was all simple mistakes, but still, they were a burden to bear.
In the summer of 1994, I made a life changing decision; I decided to go into ministry. The thoughts had been there night and day for several years and I will admit God was present in every aspect of my life. There was (and is) not a way I could explain why things happened the way they did; it had to be God. There was (and is) clearly no other way.
Never did I think I would step out of ministry; never! But that night, I knew it was clear – the time was “right.”
It would be a difficult, painful and rewarding decision.
It would disappoint some.
It would create rumors. (One of the best was that I left the church, hated God and disavowed my faith; which NEVER happened)
It would clear out a few savings account.
It would be a big transition to a “normal job.”
It would be another chapter in the book that is our lives.
That one text message would be a life change that impact is still not yet known.
Today, even though it has been more than a year, people still ask why? I believe people want to know why a minister of the gospel would step out of ministry after much effort, much dedication and a lifetime commitment.
Well, here we go. This is my story, and only my story. I share it not to bring light upon myself, but to make sure other ministers do not find themselves in the same place. I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I do not have all the answers, but I might help you find one. This is it – life in the “Fishbowl.”
Stay tuned for a little more next week.
Just some thoughts,