Don’t Let Happiness Dictate Your Level of Obedience
By Jeffrey Alexander in Healthy Leaders
When I first talked to my dad about pursuing seminary and obeying God’s call into ministry instead of going to law school, his words to me were, “Obey God in whatever He tells you to do. If he tells you to sit on a curb for Him, then do that.”
Coming out of seminary, I recall turning down a well-paying, secure position at Evangel Temple to move to Montana as a Campus Missionary-in-Training (CMIT). Earthly wisdom would have been to stay on staff with my pregnant wife and to enjoy the opportunity to work with the incoming pastor, our former youth pastor in St. Louis.
At the end of our second year as a CMIT in Chi Alpha, Dick Schroeder, the director, sat me down and asked me what God was calling me to do. At the time, I was living my ministry dream—I had great community, staff members, friends, and a beautiful location; plus, Dick and Joy were always there to deal with any hard situations.
However, I sensed the Lord calling us to leave and pioneer Chi Alpha on a new campus. I remember telling Dick and he expected us to leave in obedience to the Lord.
Ten years later, as I was sitting at my kitchen table in Hillard, Ohio, I sensed the Lord tell me that my time directing Chi Alpha at The Ohio State University was finished. God was calling me to move my family to Indiana to continue the work of re-pioneering Chi Alpha across the Indiana District. Even though I loved OSU and our Chi Alpha family, God called me to leave it.
Another ten years later, the Chi Alpha Indiana District was booming, and I was enjoying the favor of my district and of my staff family when God called me to apply to serve as the National Personnel Director. Again, I faced the challenge of obedience. To move from Indiana to Springfield, Missouri would involve personal and family sacrifice. My parents had recently moved to be near us, and my children were in relationships and greatly resistant to any changes. To move required angering my children, leaving my parents, and choosing the unknown.
I am often asked if I miss being on the local campus and/or if I enjoy my role in Chi Alpha. We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve as a part of the national team, but we still miss the people and the enjoyable parts of each role we have served in.
One of the things I have learned is that focusing on my happiness or unhappiness is the wrong criteria for service to Jesus. Instead, I believe the focus must be on obedience—specifically, “What is Jesus calling me to do?”
The question I bring to the Lord often is, “Am I doing what you are calling me to do?” While emotions of enjoyment go up and down, my pursuit is to obey Christ in whatever he calls me to do and, in this obedience, I find great peace and satisfaction.
Do not allow happiness or security to dictate your future. Listen and obey whatever he tells you to do. The enemy of God’s best is often the good in front of us.
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
All views expressed on this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.