AN EXCERPT FROM THE MAKING OF A MODEL, CH. 2
Our commission comes from the Master Himself.
You are the light of the world. … Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:14, 16).
That, for me, has never been easy.
One of my more painful memories stems from a 1983 conversation I had with a fellow Pastor whom I believed to be my friend. “Larry,” he said, “are you in ministry to serve God or to serve yourself? Are you serving out of a love for God, or are you just using Him to serve your own interests?”
It hurt deeply but I fear he may have had a point. The ministry has always had a bearing on my self-image. Like any other professional, ministers never lose their ambition, their desire for acceptance, or their professional pride. I have been no exception. From my earliest days, I was convinced that success in ministry, as in any worthwhile endeavor, comes to those determined to surmount the obstacles, challenge the opposition, and dare to do something meaningful.
I was the perfectionist … the one demanding control. That it was a reflection of profound insecurity is no excuse. It was a fatal flaw in my ministry and one that precipitated what I have termed my “wilderness wanderings.” God was not committed to my success; He was interested in me. Self-centered ambition had impacted my spiritual focus. My weaknesses and immaturity demanded shock therapy and God was about to get my attention as He could have in no other way.
I have been involved in a life-long spiritual battle. Satan took my fear of failure, my reaction to rejection, the temptation to blame myself for ignorant mistakes, and the shame that followed … to derail the work God initiated in my life.
But God did not give up on me. In His goodness and grace, He had a response for every area in which I struggled. For failure, God offered love; for rejection, God offered reconciliation; for sin, God offered forgiveness; for shame, God made me a new creation in Christ.
I am still a work in process. While I will continue to evolve and develop my walk with God, however, I am pleased to tell you I have come a long way. I am a very different man from the person I was just twenty years ago. In the words of the prophet Joel, God has, indeed, “restored the years the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).