From Nate; This is a guest post by Pastor Jon Vazquez. Pastor V is the Lead Pastor at Bethlehem Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Potts Camp, MS. He is an in demand preacher for conferences, camps and special events. Pastor V has been a prophetic voice and mentor in my life. Follow him on Twitter and check out his writings on his blog.
In the late 90’s, to make ends meet, I went to real estate appraisal school and worked an appraisal company. It wasn’t easy to balance pastoring, building a building and being an appraiser, but you do what you have to do. The Indianapolis area was my market. One day I had an appraisal to do in the Speedway community near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The appraisal order was a refinance for Mr. Edward Bird. I drove to the house, took the required photographs and rang the doorbell. A lady opened the door, said hello led me through the house. I did my job observing the main level and the upstairs. The house was a well-kept older home, nothing spectacular, a normal house for the market. Finally, I was led to the basement. When the door to the stairwell opened I noticed on my left a framed basketball uniform, it was an Indiana All-star uniform. There was a lot of memorabilia. Then that I saw many pictures including a green #33 Boston Celtics jersey, with the name Bird on the back. Next to it was a picture of basketball superstar Larry Bird standing next to his younger brother Mr. Edward Bird, also known as Eddie Bird.
Obviously, I was doing an appraisal on Larry Bird’s brother’s house. Let me tell you a little bit about Eddie Bird, since he is not a household name like Larry. Eddie was more athletic than Larry, a bit quicker, a better jumper and according to Gary Holland, their high school coach a better high school player. Holland said Eddie had a lot of ability, and that it was harder for Larry in high school than it was for Eddie. How did Larry become one of the greatest basketball players in history, a consensus top 5 player of all-time, and Eddie fades into obscurity?
The answer comes from Eddie’s college coach Phil Hopkins. He said drive was and is the main difference between the two. Hopkins said, “The desire to work in the off-season with weights and conditioning and the off season workouts, that’s the thing Larry has.” The obvious answer to why the more athletic brother didn’t make it and the lesser did comes down to one determining factor – desire. Desire overcame Larry’s lack of speed and jumping ability. Desire took a lesser high school player and made him a superstar! Desire caused Larry to become an NBA champion. Desire is the difference.
What do two basketball brothers have to do with ministry? They illustrate a truth that pertains to ministry, business, and every other walk of life – desire is the difference! Desire takes lesser talent and propels them ahead of their peers. Desire overcomes physical deficiencies and closes the gap. Make no mistake about it, your desire is more important than your ability any day of the week. When it comes to ministry the most inconsequential of attributes we contribute to success is our ability. Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing(John 15:5).” He didn’t say we could do something without Him, He said nothing! Our own ability is not the most important contribution we make, our desire and determination to the purpose and truth of the Gospel is. Yes sir, give me desire over talent any day.
Many times talent takes the path of least resistance. Opting for the easy way, believing that ability will be enough. Desire will take whatever path necessary to get the job done, regardless of how difficult, uncomfortable or painful, because to desire, the end result is paramount. To desire only success mollifies the soul. Desire will do whatever it takes. Desire will crawl on hand and knee over any obstacle if that is what it takes to get the job done.
Think of the young preacher Timothy. Timothy’s mother was a Jewess, his father was a Greek, and as such Timothy had not been circumcised. According to 2 Timothy 3:15 he was taught the ways of God from childhood, but his Greek father had never permitted circumcision. Circumcision was the identifying mark of the Jews and was the sign of their covenant with God. Timothy’s father did not want his son to be identified as a Jew. The Apostle Paul didn’t believe circumcision was essential to the Christian. He declared in 1 Corinthians 7:18-19 that if you were circumcised when you became a believer fine, but if you were not, there was no need, it was not a matter of faith. Timothy was just as saved as anyone else even without circumcision.
The fact that circumcision was not essential makes Acts 16:1-5 an astounding passage of scripture. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him to preach. Timothy was an aspiring young minister, to be mentored by the iconic Apostle Paul was an amazing opportunity. Though amazing, no one said it would be easy. Notice Acts 16:3 “Him (Timothy) would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.” Timothy, who many estimate was about 15-16 years old was circumcised by the same Paul who said it didn’t matter. Why did Timothy have to be circumcised? Because the Jews, who believed it mattered, knew Timothy was a Greek. They would not have accepted his ministry if he were not circumcised.
Timothy had a choice. Submit to the pain and anguish of circumcision for the ministry’s sake, or choose the path of least resistance and decline. It was not like circumcising an 8-day-old boy, who would forget the pain and never remember it. This would be a painful experience and a memory that would haunt him. But desire to be useful won out. Timothy chose pain over comfort. Desire was the difference. What are the results of Timothy submitting? Acts 16:5 “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
How badly do we want to be effective? Do we have the desire to endure anything to be successful in ministry? Will we endure pain and suffering to do the work of God? Let me tell every reader that desire is the difference. Desire can overcome your faults, failures, weakness, insufficiency, lack of talent, inability, and the list goes on. Yes my
friends, desire is the difference.
What can you do to do increase your desire to see your dreams, and goals reached?