One of the cool things I like to do here at Team Sabo headquarters is gaze into the rear view mirror and consider the decisions we've made and how God's hand were in them. On the way to church this morning it struck me that something fairly significant happened a year ago. Yes indeed, it was a year ago tonight that the members of the Team Sabo Executive Board convened in an emergency meeting. Well, maybe it wasn't an emergency. It was a big meeting, though. The kids always know something is up when we gather together in the living for room for a "Very Important Announcement." When we met a year ago, Julie and I were praying through a decision to leave Gloucester temporarily and head to Oregon so I could to attend Cornerstone School of Ministry at Calvary Chapel Corvallis. There's quite a bit of background to the story, so let's review some additional historical facts, situations and events.
We had attended Calvary Chapel Corvallis from October 1999 to February 2004, at which point we relocated 3,000 miles east to Gloucester, Va. The School of Ministry was up and running the whole time we were in Corvallis and I had many friends go through the program. It was something I had wanted to do, but for various reasons never took that leap of faith. File it away under the label, "It Wasn't the Lord's Timing." It was something I wanted to do, but never was real serious about it until two years ago. We were on vacation and staying with relatives in Brentwood, Tenn., when we went to church with them. It was during worship that I felt unmistakably that the Lord told me I was going to be a teacher of the Word. I didn't know in what capacity; I mean, for all I knew it was for the 3rd through 5th graders at church, which I was already doing but could probably do better with a better grip on Scripture. I thought it was crazy at first, but as I let the idea marinate I figured I better get prepared because the Lord doesn't just throw stuff out there just for something to do. A couple of weeks later I was at a men's retreat when I told Brenton about it and said I felt like the Lord was leading me to go to the School of Ministry. He was stoked, but it was all just so crazy. Quit my job, move my family across the country, go to the school ... all that in and of itself was enough to get me committed to an institution for the mentally unstable, unhinged and flat out crazy. But then what? Just come back and go back to normal? Could that really happen? So I didn't pursue it.
I really didn't think about it for another year until I was visiting with a friend over the Fourth of July weekend last summer. We were shooting the breeze one day while driving around town when inevitably -- as it does at our advanced age -- the conversation turned toward retirement and college educations for kids and things of that nature. I didn't have much in the way of a retirement fund and certainly no college funds for any of our kids. It always kind of bothered me, as if I wasn't doing a good of taking care of my family, or me for that matter. Which is just the enemy saying a bunch of malarkey. But I did have some money socked away for retirement and as I was talking with my buddy the Lord totally put Matthew 19:16-22 and the story of the rich young ruler on my heart. The essence of the story is that this wealthy young stud was a good, moral guy, but then Jesus got to the heart of the matter. He has a way of doing that, you know? As Jesus says in verse 21: "If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." The rich young man, as it says in the next verse, "went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." In other words, following Jesus came at too high of a price for him. As I was talking to my friend about jobs and finances and the like, the thought hit me: What's my price tag to follow Christ? My meager retirement? My house? My job? What was off-limits?
I wrestled with that question for several weeks before I got an answer. Stay tuned for the next installment of this friendly neighborhood blog when we pick up the story.