Let me share a life-changing moment that happened to me that will provide you with a few thoughts from which you can find great value. This has to do with one of those moments in time when the Holy Spirit illuminated something obvious I should have seen, but never crossed my mind. Then in a flash, God spoke to me and took me to a place of understanding that my natural mind had failed to recognize. As you read on, I will be sharing a story with you and then, a few principles I learned from that one enlightening moment.
For six months or so, I have been mentoring a pastor in Cebu, which is a city in the Philippines. His name is Pastor Lemuel. I do this through the use of SKYPE, which is a video conferencing program available on the computer. It has been a wonderful time for both of us and a great relationship building experience. It also has been an extremely effective way for me to mentor him and provide him with many of my leadership training materials. He uses them to train a number of pastors in the area who look to him for leadership. He also teaches these lessons to his own church.
The time difference between Florida in the USA, where I live, and in Cebu, Philippines, where Pastor Lemuel lives, is normally twelve hours. So he and I arranged to connect on line every Thursday at eight o’clock. It would be eight o’clock in the morning in Florida and eight o’clock in the evening in Cebu. This worked extremely well until two weeks ago (at the time of this writing). Then, it happened. As I went on line, I found he was not there. I sent him an email, saying that I was sure he had a pressing reason for missing our appointment and provided him with the link on my website to download the lesson we would discuss the following week. He replied that he was sorry we missed each other and thanked me for all I was doing for him.
The following week, at eight o’clock in the morning I was back online using SKYPE to contact him. Mysteriously, he was not there. I found this unusual. He had been so faithful all these months and now, for two consecutive weeks, he had missed his appointment with me. This was a bit of an irritant. After all, I was giving my time, energy and resources to help him. I sent him another email, again saying I was sure he had a pressing reason for missing our appointment. I included the link on my website for him to download the next lesson, as I had in the previous week’s email. He replied, just as he had before, that he was sorry we missed each other and thanked me again for all I was doing for him. He had so many nice things to say. In both of his emails, this week’s and last, he never provided an explanation for us not connecting. He just humbly thanked me for being his mentor.
I was confused about why Pastor Lemuel would miss two consecutive weeks of mentoring meetings. He knew how useful the materials I gave him were. He knew how busy I was. He knew I seldom committed regular time each week to one individual, as I had done with him. Honestly, it was a bit irritating. Now, before I continue, think back to a similar time when you were sacrificing your time and effort to equip someone to do the work of the ministry and thought you were not being properly appreciated. If you have been in leadership a while, something similar has happened to you. If not, I assure you it will. Now, back to the story.
After waiting in vain to connect with Pastor Lemuel for the second straight week, I shut down my computer and went to my usual morning prayers and devotions. It did not take long before I was interrupted by three powerful words, direct from the throne of heaven. They exploded into my consciousness like the sound of thunder. I had no doubt these three words were straight from the Holy Spirit. He simply said to me, “Daylight Savings Time.” At that moment, revelation and then conviction engulfed my heart. The Holy Spirit faithfully showed me the reality of my situation. He loves Pastor Lemuel and me too much to allow a simple and very human oversight to stop our ability to connect for kingdom purposes. It was a powerful word of revelation, conviction and correction. How did those three words, “Daylight Savings Time,” bring revelation, conviction and correction to me? My prayer for you is that as you continue to read, the Holy Spirit might bring some revelation, or perhaps conviction and correction to you that has nothing to do with time or SKYPE meetings.
Here is the rest of my story. When the Holy Spirit spoke, “Daylight Savings Time,” I suddenly realized that the cause of Pastor Lemuel and me missing each other was completely my fault… yes, my fault! You see, Daylight Savings Time is a law in the United States that moves the clock forward one hour each fall season, and then back again in the spring. This is done to accommodate school children who would otherwise be going to school in the dark. It saves the daylight for them by making us adjust our clocks one hour twice a year. What I failed to realize was that this does not happen in the rest of the world. The clocks never adjusted an hour in the Philippines.
Once I realized my mistake, it caused three things to happen. First, I immediately sent off an email apologizing to Pastor Lemuel and explaining what had happened because of the time-change rules in the USA. Second, having been engaged in missions for so many years, I understood that, because of my position as his mentor, Pastor Lemuel could not correct me for being the cause of our missed appointments. Third, I went to the throne asking forgiveness for my attitude of pride and self-entitlement. I was filled with sorrow for offending God with such an attitude. Now I had the opportunity to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24). I would be cleansed of the sin of presuming that I was anything but a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a refreshing, wonderful moment of fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Here are the lessons I want to share with you from the gift of this one moment in my life. I trust they will draw you into a place of deeper fellowship with God and equip you to more effectively bless those He entrusts to you.
- Prayer is an opportunity to hear things from God you will never hear any other way. You need to cultivate prayer times in which you listen carefully for His voice.
- There will always be things that our natural minds will not see. Only a word from God can show them to us. This is important because it is the key to divine protection, provision, success and significance.
- Encourage a relationship with those under your authority that gives them permission to speak without fear. This can be revelation to cause a revolution in your effectiveness as a leader.
- Always remind yourself that you have covenanted with God to be His servant. There is no room for pride or a sense of self-entitlement in the life a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Most importantly, and going far beyond any leadership issues, is the fact that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).
Now, add all these five points together and you have wisdom worth sharing. I encourage you to give it a home in your heart as you share it with those God gives you on this beautiful day in His kingdom.
Dr. Bob Abramson