MISSION/MINISTRY: In the Vineyard
— Jody Neufeld
But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you that “In the last time there will be mockers [scoffers], walking after their own ungodly lusts [agendas].” These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual [fleshly], not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Jude 17-21 (WEB, my paraphrase)
Each of us has a “call” or “mission” to fulfill in our lives. It may be something noteworthy by the world as Peter or Paul’s missions were. Or it may be unknown except to the One who put in the call; the only One who matters. Before God formed me, He knew me and had a plan for my life in His Kingdom. (Jeremiah 1)
As a child and teen my life was probably typical of the Midwest in the 60’s. I spent my first eight years of school in a parochial setting. This was an insulated world except it did include people of different races. We went to school and church together. We did not think of each other as “different” and so segregation did not impact my life until later. High school was painful as I felt socially inept and relegated to the “good kids” not the “in crowd”. I fell in and out of love. I had a circle of friends that didn’t stay out too late, didn’t smoke or drink, and went to church every Sunday with their parents.
When I stretched my wings in college, I did smoke, I did drink, and I did not go to church. I was taking my new found independence out for a spin in the Birthplace of the Blues, and managed to graduate without causing any major wrecks in my life.
It was as a wife and mother that I again drifted back into the path that God had laid for me. I went to church because it was one of my husband’s jobs as a choir director. I went on my first mission trip to Costa Rica because it sounded like an adventure and it left my husband in charge of three children for ten days! God turned that self-centered answer to a ‘call’ into a time of teaching: How to Serve the Least of These. I met people of simple ways but of great faith. I returned two more times to Costa Rica, thinking I was ministering but finding out that I was just as much ministered to. My heart was slowly changing and softening.
It was during these years that I became more and more career-successful and struggled with trying to “have it all”. Can you really have it all? Maybe, but only if the priorities are correct. Mine were not. As my life turned to God and I found that life-changing relationship with God, giving myself wholly, no-turning-back to Him, my marriage disintegrated and my children were hurt. It is the worse moment in a parent’s life to see the pain and betrayal in your child’s eyes and know that you are responsible for putting it there. There are always consequences for decisions. The consequence may be immediate or it may grow from a root of a bad choice.
God is faithful. He planted seeds, watered and fertilized my life through all the years. He never gave up that I could walk the path and answer the “call” that He had put into my life. He wanted me to live in the joy and blessings of that “call” all these years but He never stopped opening the door into His vineyard, allowing me to work. (Matthew 20)
Energion Publications is not just a publishing company. It is the ministry to which I am called to work for the One who truly owns it. God opens up opportunities for people to meet and work together in His Kingdom that maybe would not have met each other. Books are written, not by the world-recognized famous, but by souls who have been dipped in the Blood of the Lamb and warmed by His Spirit to transcribe the words He gives to them. And I am a worker in that vineyard. Whether my time in this vineyard is one more day or 30 more years, I am so very blessed to have been allowed to sweat along side the Owner and His called workers.
Is the Owner calling you? Don’t miss the opportunity.