Some thoughts on the Road to Ninevah…
I have experienced God in so many ways within my life. Looking back, I see the story of Jonah and the Whale as the closest analogy to my own sense of calling. Like Jonah, I turned away from God rather than do as was asked of me. As a child, I was not prepared to embrace God’s call and overcome the obstacles that stood in the way of seeking ordained ministry. So, as a young adult, discouraged, I turned away, thinking that I had missed the opportunity or worse yet, that God had somehow been “wrong” in calling me to service. I spent years believing I had turned my back, when in reality God had allowed me the privilege of slow and ongoing preparation through personal ministry and outreach to be ready to answer a call today as an adult. At the time God first called, Ninevah simply seemed too far away, too hard to reach! But in telling this story, let me be quick to point out God’s infinite patience awaiting a willful child’s return to that road. I am testimony to the fact that God WILL keep calling until you answer.
I am convinced that God uses my weakness, even my willfulness, for glory in every aspect of my life. The best news of all is I have also learned that to answer God’s call, I don’t have to be perfect. God uses me for God’s purpose, not mine! Through that time of preparation, God continued to speak to me and to my heart calling on me to share the Word through personal evangelism. God also gifted me with a mission field that began just outside my door; whether that door was at home, work or church. I believe that God called me to understand that mission is the center of my life, and ministry is how that mission is manifested, because as Christians, I believe mission is what we do with our lives. [You may notice this will be an ongoing theme I visit during our worship time together!]
The rest of the story of the road to Ninevah is about grace! Through God’s grace in my life, I am open to the daily miracles of my life. By preparing me to be open to the miraculous; God blesses every event as a step in the ongoing process of discerning His call in my journey. Daily, I pray that I will be a vessel of my Lord’s will and message in this world through my actions, thoughts and deeds. Some days I am more successful than others, yet God’s grace continues to carry me through even when I am tempted to run and hide in the whale’s belly again!
I feel so blessed to have been invited to share a time of worship with you. The body of Christ has been an answer to a long standing prayer for me; through my experiences with you and God’s grace in my life I have found the courage to continue down the road towards Ninevah. In stepping forward to answer God’s call to ordained ministry today, I have embraced a sense of clarity and purpose I have never known so completely before in my Christian walk. Everyday, I see new possibilities. Today, many years after God’s first call to serve; I surrender and seek only to serve by laying my life on the altar of God’s will for my life. Not an easy task I can assure you! But only in this way, in finally traveling the road to Ninevah, will I fulfill God’s will for my life, receive the blessing of living a life of purpose and direction, and have the opportunity to affect change in the world, one step, one life at a time – starting with my own.
May God bless you this day and always, Pastor Heidi
Celebrating the Gift of Christ’s Resurrection in the Centenary United Methodist Church of Malone