Well, the votes were tallied, and the final gavel sounded; another District convention had come to a close. It was almost a historic day. I came within 20 votes of history, in being the first black district president in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Now you may think by coming this close I must be heartbroken, maybe even a bit bitter. However, those are not the emotions I am processing. No, I am not experiencing any of those negative emotions. There is a level of contentment. I know some supporters are wondering what about next time? That is not fair to our new president or the direction God has in mind for him or this district. So, fear not I am not ready to begin a three-year secret campaign become District President. What I am is overwhelmed, by the amount of love and encouragement a runner-up has received. As I look back at the results and just how close it was, I am grateful that people were not voting for me because I am black, they voted for me because they believed that I had the gifts, ability and the character to lead. They voted for me because of who God created me and uniquely gifted me to be. For me, that makes me and this corner of the church body a winner. Congratulations and God’s most abundant blessings to our new district president, Rev. Allan Buss. You can feel confident I do not desire your position. District president was not in God’s plans, and I trust His plan for my life.
Trust the Plan
It is funny how God sometimes uses your words against you. I preached this sermon the week before convention about living out your calling based on 1 Samuel 3, the call of Samuel. In the discourse, I share three takeaways with the congregation that God threw back at me during the district convention.
It is time for me to spend time in prayer listening and seeking to know God’s next step for me. His plan could reveal “keep doing what you are doing.” God has used me to impact people’s lives in ways I could never have imagined. This nomination process was a wakeup call not to overlook what God is doing. We can get so focused in our busy lives we lose sight of what God is doing around us. I know for me that was the case. I found myself surrounded by people who I have had an impact on their being in congregations in our district. It was a compelling picture of kingdom impact.
This election and the fallout afterward overpowered me emotionally. I was not prepared for the outpouring of love and support I got. The text messages, the love, the hugs, the prayers, all I can say is wow! And the pleas for, “Please stay,” have touched my heart. There were also those, “God has bigger plans for you” comments I also don’t want to ignore because I know God speaks through the faithful. So, this will be a spring and summer of reflection. As one friend asked me, “What’s next?” At this point and time, I do not know. But I can’t wait for God’s big reveal.
2. Be Open to His Leading.
The verses that speak to me in this area are:
“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (CEB)
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”- Proverbs 16:3 (CEB)
God makes it clear our response to His leading is to give up control of our agenda.
What a difficult thing to do. Our agenda gives us the impression we have got this, but God’s got this. Let Him lead.
3. When God Calls Be Willing to Go!
Many plans are in a person’s mind, Proverbs 19:21 (CEB)
After ten years of stability, this is the most uncomfortable part of how God works. What if His plans mean a transition? I have such a robust support system here leaving it would be difficult, but I have to be willing to be faithful to God’s calling. That calling may involve risks and trust God to provide.
4. Trust His Plans
I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own, Jeremiah 10:23 (CEB)
People plan their path, Proverbs 16:9 (CEB)
God makes it clear to trust the process and trust the One created the process. I know it will all work out but to quote the late Tom Petty,
“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part.”
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