When God told Noah to build the ark, God gave to Noah all of the instructions He knew were necessary to complete his assignment. “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.” Genesis 6:14-16. Noah believed his God given assignment was do-able. Noah lived In Partnership With God.
God has often given to me a significant task – and the information He deemed necessary to complete it.
I have never heard the voice of God or seen the handwriting on the wall, but I am confident that as I keep my heart’s desire to know and obey God’s directions for my life, God has lots of ways of getting his message through to me. Biblical history proves this. Consider how God surprised Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, David, Matthew, Mark, Saul/Paul and many others. God has directed my life through the reading of the Bible, the words of another person, circumstance, a dream – and always with the confirmation of peace in my heart. We can “Trust in the LORD with your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)
After I graduated from seminary, I became the Assistant Pastor/Minister of Education of a significant church of a city in the Deep South. I knew that everything about a church “teaches”. The church in which I was to minister, God’s house, was dirty and un-kept. So I said to the Senior Minister: “For six years I was the janitor for my dad’s office. Can I take over the supervision of the custodian?” His immediate response: “yes!”
The custodian’s name was “Lightening” – which referred to the white lightening he drank, not to the speed at which he worked. Lightening and I took a tour of the facility and looked at the general state of affairs. I told him what I expected of him. If he asked how to do something, I told him. Immediately Lightening went to work.
The next week he was scheduled to go on vacation…and he did not return to work! Here I was – I had essentially asked for the responsibility for the cleanliness of the facility, and the custodian was no more! “Lord…what do I do now?” I knew almost no one! A couple days later a very large, muscular black man came to tell me he had heard I needed someone who could work…and that he could work! T. B. Ethridge was hired on the spot. T.B. was an exceptional person – a wonderful man. I soon learned how sharp his mind was. Late one afternoon I retuned to the church and T.B. told me he had some telephone messages for me. Out of his memory came six messages, who had called, and their telephone numbers. I was amazed – and told him so. Then he told me how, when he returned from the war, no one was willing to teach a black man how to read or write.
Soon after T.B. became the custodian, a church member asked me if T. B. could teach his mentally challenged son (about 25 with 4th grade reading level) to be a janitor. T.B. told me he would enjoy working with the man. Soon T.B had his assistant reading the labels on the cleaning products. They worked together for over a year – until the family moved to another city. The son had learned a trade – and the church sparkled from top to bottom.
When I asked the senior pastor if I could be responsible for the supervision of the custodian, I knew why I was asking for the responsibility, but had no idea what I was getting into, and no idea of how we would see God’s hand of provision!
“Noah – build an ark.” “Chuck – care for my sheep.”
Yesterday and today, we can live In Partnership With God .