Thursday, May 14, 2015

Self on the Shelf

Have you ever felt like you've been put on the shelf? Like something that was needed and used,  but now you are just sitting,  waiting to be used again. This sometimes happens to those who serve God.  You may have been there,  you may be there.

The book of Daniel tells us about Daniel being put on the shelf.   Don't remember than part?  It's not in the text,  it's actually in the spaces.   Daniel interpreted a dream for King Nebuchadnessar,  and he subsequently went mad for 7 years.   We turn the page to King Belshazzar having the party. Well,  it may just be the next chapter,  but we missed 3 or 4 kings in the passage.  Nebuchadnessar is his "father" in the text,  but it's like the Jews calling Abraham their father.   He was more likely his Great Grandfather,  and Belshazzar's father,  who was actually the king,  was out at war,  leaving his son in charge,  a sort of temporary stand in King.   This was a big chunk of time between assignments for Daniel. During the time where there is no text and just space,  what is Daniel doing?   We have no idea,  it doesn't say.  

We know he is remembered for what he has done,  and I assume he was faithful in his job,  since he is still around.   There is no assignment given to Daniel that was written in the book that bears his name. It seems that Daniel was on the shelf. So what do we do during these times? It would be nice to have some instruction,  but during these times,  there aren't notes given.  

Like the time between Jesus at age 12 and age 30.  Paul during the time between his conversion and his missionary travels. What was John doing those years on Patmos when he wasn't writing Revelation?  We don't know.

I'm in a shelf time myself.  I haven't been at my last church for about 3 years. In my down time,  I'm trying to write,  obviously, doesn't always go as smoothly as I'd like.   I have found myself with a pretty decent job with the opportunity to share,  disciple and teach.  I am surrounded by a good mix of believers and non-believers and have a good relationship with them all. I long to be back in vocational ministry,  even part time or volunteer ministry.   I do what I can,  but I work rotating 12 hour shifts that go from nights to days every month.   It can't be at anything on a weekly basis,  so I can't teach a class or a Bible study every week.   I can set it up that I can meet after work,  but that only works until I switch from days to nights or vice versa.  With this job,  which was a gift from God,  I am effectively on the shelf.

I'm praying that I will be useful again some day in ministry.   I pray that I can go back into the calling that I love so much.   In the mean time,  I'll just stay on this shelf,  waiting for the time that The Father reaches for me and it's my time to serve Him in vocational ministry. Blessings,  thanks for spending some time with me today.

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