(Check out this link)
(photo from http://www.etc.usf.edu/)
Ok, I admit, I have a soft side for The Cathedrals. I'm not a southern gospel kind of guy at all. My style is straight up new traditional (thanks for that, Adam Hamilton) but...when I hear Glen Payne at the mic, I absolutely melt. There's a link above the picture if you want to melt too. I did go through a southern gospel phase when I first entered the ministry, even took dad to see Gold City in concert, but I have found a home in the music of Chris Tomlin, Third Day, Jennifer Knapp, Kutless, Toby Mac and folks like that.
This morning, however, I cannot get "The Haven of Rest" out of my head. I'm at Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly in Eva, TN for a meeting of the Fellowship of the Orders of Elders, Deacons, and Local Pastors. It's early. The sun is not even up yet, but is getting ready to come up over the lake. It's quiet. There's only a couple other people up right now. It's peaceful...almost a haven of rest.
I don't know which part of that phrase, "haven of rest," hits me harder this morning. Rest is always welcome, and I take it when I can get it. But I'm not sure that the part of that phrase resounding more strongly for me this morning is not the "haven" part. You know what that is, right?
I found a definition at http://www.freedictionary.com/ that says a haven is a "harbor or anchorage; a port." or it is a "place of refuge or rest; a sanctuary." That is an awesome image. I have realized just how important having all of those are recently, not just the sanctuary or place of refuge and rest. Those are great too, and I'm thankful that I got to be here for this meeting this week. But I have realized recently just how important it is to have an anchorage, you know, something to tie off to when the waves begin beating against you.
Ministry, whether as a profession or not, if you do it right and do it well, will leave you looking for something to remain anchored to. I've said this before and I guess I say it again this morning to remind myself more than anything, if you sign up to follow Jesus and not just admire Jesus, you had better make sure you are anchored to Jesus.
For me, personally, when I signed up for this I knew that there would be long days and that, at times, my work would be physically exhausting. I knew that there would be days of great sadness and days of great joy. I knew that there would be times when I questioned why I was doing this at all. I knew the nature of the institution, and that at times confidences would be broken. I knew there would be costs to my family, there would be stress, there would be days when I just wanted to hide. I knew all of this, but signed up anyhow, and I have never regretted it for one minute.
Why? Because I'm anchored. I know where I can find a haven of rest. I have never been more sure of my call than I am right now. I know who holds me up and who keeps me from sinking when I'm called out of the boat, and I hope you know that the same is being offered to you.
So, answer the call. Say, "Here I am Lord, send me." Step out of the boat and feel the water at your feet, but remember before you do any of that, find your anchor and hold on. It may get a little rough, the storms may blow, the winds may howl, the waves may crash, but I guarantee you, your anchor is going to hold.