Pulling Out All the Stops

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”- Ephesians 2:10

My fourth grade classmate Gary Ziervogel boarded the Timothy Lutheran School bus and sat down next to me, brimming with excitement.  “Guess what?” he announced.  “My parents bought a piano and I’m going to take lessons!”  Although Gary didn’t know it, he had planted a seed in my fertile imagination.  There was one minor problem, however.  My parent’s couldn’t afford a piano.  But when Grandma Henning heard of my interest, she donated her 1934 Starck spinet piano- that continues to grace my living room today.   For several years, Matt Gasparotto was my piano teacher.  Then one evening he didn’t show up.  We never heard from him again.  Enter John O’Brien, a devout Catholic and organist at St. Bede the Venerable.  Sensing my potential, he prepared me for organ lessons with a year of classical piano instruction.  I played my first church service, VBS closing worship, at age 14.  And the hymns go on.

God-ordained opportunities often start out as mustard seed opportunities.  Yet, we frequently fail to seize them.  Because we’re so devastated by our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, we overlook God’s still, small voice in favor of a miraculous intervention of epic proportions.  Patiently proceeding on our healing journey step by step will produce lasting fruit.  Conversely, as Mark Batterson astutely observes, “easy answers produce shallow convictions.”

Disappointment over the loss of our calling is a second factor in missed opportunities.  Unchecked disappointment can become an excuse to stagnate as well as ruminate on our uninvited misfortune.  We must affirm that the loss of our vocation is in no way synonymous with a negation of God’s calling.  As MercyMe sings, “You put me here for a reason.  You have a mission for me.”

Finally, we may desire 100% certainty before stepping out of our discomfort zone, effectively taking faith out of the equation.  Faith, Pastor Batterson asserts, embraces uncertainty:

“Faith involves a loss of control.  And with the loss of control comes the loss of certainty. . . . And faith is the willingness to embrace those uncertainties.”


About the author

Dave Henning

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