“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain.
Twain, in his homespun wisdom, speaks volumes on how to find meaning and fulfillment in life. Our leadership and personal ministry journeys cause us to face the same challenge. In the safe harbor of our offices, sanctuaries, and living rooms we hold the gifts, skills, and experiences to change the world. We sit, ready to move mountains, waiting for a need to walk in through our door. Good hours can be wasted in solitude when nobody comes.
Your job, church, and home are likely well tended in part because you are already involved. It is where you are not that still needs you. To reach those places, you must go to them.
Think of the assets you bring to your personal ministry. You may have the spiritual gift of hospitality. You may have a passion for baking cookies. You may have the life experiences of a head chef at a five star restaurant. If those attributes are kept locked behind closed doors you will be serving yourself a lot of delicious treats but not much will be gained from your efforts.
There is a better option, however. By going outside of your four walls and interacting with those nearby you will be able to fill your home as often as you want. In the world beyond your routine there are people who would be happy to know you. Twain referenced this when he said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often”
In our example, the only difference between filled plates of unshared cookies and a scattering of crumbs on the floor is the act of going.
The book of Mark describes this moment of decision. The apostles were hidden away, eating, bound by their own stubborn unbelief. Jesus rebuked them, telling them to “Go into the world. Go everywhere …” The apostles could have stayed hidden, waiting for people in need to stumble across them. The lesson, instead, was to leave, step out, and go beyond their self-perceived boundaries.
Our leadership and personal ministry journeys require us to go. Those who wait for opportunities in the safety of their chambers will never be able to fully employ the gifts, passions, and experiences they were granted. We are not alone in our hesitation to step out as even the apostles needed prodding. The time has come for each of us to explore, dream, discover … the time has come to go.