MARCH 2006 – Back when I was a parish minister and regularly preparing sermons, I would often find poetry that spoke to me. One such poem that has stayed with me over the years was written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Let me share it with you.
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow;
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate,
As we voyage along through life;
’Tis the set of the soul
That decides the goal
And not the calm or the strife.
Looking back on nearly three score and ten years, that poem still rings true.
We are given one life and one life only to live. We make our choices and arrive at our destinations.
With the help of my parents and others who touched my life, I was fortunate enough to discover that truth at a young age. So I made a decision to use that one life as a follower of Christ. It was the wisest decision I ever made about anything.
The years have come and gone. They shall never return. I have invested this life in trying to follow where God calls. Had I followed my own preferences, I would have gone another way. If I had my druthers, I would have rather been given another type of ministry, one where I could have been a hands-on participant in helping the poor and needy. One where I would have gone to my little corner to serve and only a handful of people would have ever heard my name.
But God, in His wisdom, had other plans. He put me down in the very middle of a raging culture war. It was a ministry of confrontation where decisions were not always between black and white but often tinted with gray.
But I thank God there was a place where He could use me. And I thank God for the privilege of serving him in the capacity to which He called me.
Whatever lot God chooses for your life, follow it. It may not be the one you want, but it is the one He has given. When He says for you to take up your cross and follow Him, do it.
Life will be richer because of it.
Editor’s Note: From the late 1970s through 2010, Don Wildmon, founder and president emeritus of American Family Association, wrote hundreds of monthly columns for AFA Journal. Thirty-one of his best columns are now available in a recently published collection titled Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon. These columns represent his timeless wisdom and insight and are now being published weekly on The Stand in celebration of AFA’s 40 years of ministry.
Click here or call 877-927-4917 to order your own copy of Our Call to Faithfulness: The Voice and Legacy of Don Wildmon.