Twenty Three Down--Twenty Three To Go

Twenty three years ago today, I made a decision that forever changed the course of my life.  Actually the decision had already been made on a Labor Day Single's retreat near Kerrville, Texas.   I had attended with the idea that somehow out of that weekend I would get an answer from God what I should do about the rest of my life.

Friday wasn't much to write about nor Saturday but I distinctly remember Sunday morning.  I got up earlier than anyone else in my room.   I scurried down to the overlook above the river and took my bible with me. I began to read and study and ask of the Lord what I should do about some big decisions that had to be made.  ( Let me add a side note here that I had just started a career with a Department store chain and was in their training program, but I knew that this probably wasn't the long term answer for me)

You know the funny thing is as I look back on that morning, the Lord didn't speak in a loud crashing wave.  He spoke in the still small voice.   What did he say you ask?   I all I remember hearing him say is "I'll provide".  That's it!  Nothing more than that to base the rest of my life on.  And for me that was enough.  I surrendered my life to full-time ministry that weekend.

On September 20, 1987 I made that decision public at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. The funny thing about that day is that when I told my Pastor, Buckner Fanning, that I was surrendering to ministry he asked where I worked.  I told him and he said while introducing me " This is Jim Drake and he has surrendered to ministry and he will be quitting his job at...."  Well, you can imagine my terror because I hadn't told anyone at work.  God hid me until August of 1988 so that I could have a job and influence among the people I work with.  When it was time, it was revealed that I was going into ministry and my bosses were the best about it.  They were believers too and wanted to do anything to help me.

I guess I remind myself of this story because there have been many times in 23 years that I wondered if I made the right choice, the right decision.  I tell Diane she could have married someone with more money, more things and certainly taller.  Why in the world did she say yes to me?

All I know is that I continue to go back to that answer that He gave me on Labor Day 1987.  "I'll provide" and for 23 years that has been sufficient.   Believe me, there are days when I wish that I worked at a secular job and there are times I wonder how much longer I can do this.  But my answer always comes back to this day and this moment in my life when I heard Him say that He is sufficient for every need in my life.  That will never change.   My vocation may at some point, but this I know about His character never ever will.  This is enough for me.

So, 23 years down and another 23 to go?   I'll let you know about that tomorrow as I start another chapter in my life.


Mark Jaffrey said...

Happy Anniversary Jim!

Crazy - God gave me the same promise about 21 years ago the year after I finished High School, but it was in the context of my struggle as to whether I should tithe my money or not. I was scared that I couldn't afford to give up even 10% of the little I had (I had already left home and was in full time ministry for a year before starting university), but I remember clearly that day when I was walking in the Lancashire countryside along a canal and God said to me "You tithe and I'll provide". It was a pivotal moment for me and he has always kept his promise. Just like he has for you.

Chris Gambill said...


Congrats on 23 years and thanks for the example of faithfulness. I appreciate reading your insights and experiences as I go through my own ministry journey. May the Lord continue to bless your faithfulness.