A man of great wisdom and intelligence sat down with me recently, listening to me describe my bold plans for a new venture. After working in the music retail business for the last ten years in support of my teaching role at House of David Beit Midrash, I plan to leave the job in order to pursue traveling to teach/speak at congregations, and to build up a web presence to spread the message that I feel I have been given. The man’s eyes first stared intently as I spoke and then widened with approval. He then started to offer his insight so it was my turn to stare intently.
This wise man doesn’t claim to fit in any acceptable religious category, professing belief in the Master Designer and acknowledging that our lives are to have some higher purpose than merely existing until we die. While he wouldn’t fit in most church pews or synagogue seats, I know from our many conversations that when he speaks I need to listen. And I did.
Among the many things of which he spoke I have found one remark to remain in my thinking. “The key for your success is to realize a belief in something or someone greater than yourself. Otherwise we fall into the trap of becoming narcissistic and believing this is all about us.” I find this especially important insight as my whole goal is to teach others about the Elohim of Yisrael, indeed Someone greater than myself. Yet the trap of my labor, travel, and speaking opportunities lies in the very acceptance and hearing that I am praying for. Answered prayer can become a trap if it leads to promotion of self or if we take it as affirmation that we are someone worthy or special. The realization that we are being guided and aided by One Who is greater should humble us, not inflate us.
Another man of great wisdom and superior prophetic ability was told to confront the systems of religious deception and gross idolatry in ancient Yisrael. Eliyahu HaNavi [Elijah the prophet] contested the power of 450 priests of ba’al and 400 prophets of asherah at Mt. Carmel. At the end of the day, those 850 men were dead and fire sent from heaven was consuming Eliyahu’s offering. Shortly thereafter, the great prophet is lying under a broom tree, depressed, tired, and praying to die. Somehow this extraordinary man became overly aware of his personal feelings. Anxiety and fear became the focus of his mind, leading him to think this whole adventure was about himself.
Believing in Someone Who is greater requires the process of humility and brokenness. Our journey demands that we learn to trust YHWH for our path and its required provision. Our reasonings and arguments that speak against His way and methodology must be cast down [2 Corinthians 10:1-6]. This process most often means testing, proving, enduring, and a long list of similar words. Ya’acov [James] 1:4 says that patient endurance leads to a state being complete and lacking nothing. BELIEVING in Someone Who is greater, YHWH Elohim of Yisrael, means that He will prove to us His Greatness in the place of our weakness and lack. For Eliyahu, that meant receiving food from birds and taking the last morsel of bread from a starving widow and her son. Her response in believing YHWH fed her family and the prophet.
This is not about you or me, but rather about Him and those He wants to reveal Himself to. There is a higher purpose, a greater goal, a more worthy endeavor IF we are willing to become set apart for it and give our selves to it. The process of humility and proving only make us more capable and resolved to get the job done. Believe in Him. Believe in your calling. Trust Him for your journey.