Common sense is not always the best sense to guide you in life. I have discovered that responding to God’s call does not always make sense to those around me, or even to myself. When I finally said, “Yes” to God’s call into pastoral ministry there were those who thought I had lost my mind. I had people try to talk “sense” into me, common sense. After all, why would I leave a medical practice that had taken years to build? Why would I move to a place I had never been to do a job I had never done to earn less salary than I had ever made? All I knew was that God had called me into pastoral ministry. And sometimes the call from God does not make sense to others.
To be honest, I have talked to others like I know what’s best for them without knowing all the facts. Today, when someone asks me for advice about their situation I have learned to ask them questions about God’s will for their life. I remember one man who felt a call to go on a prolonged mission trip. He came to me for counsel. I was skeptical that he should leave his job for this trip. I thought he might be running away from his issues. But in the end, I knew he needed to go if God were calling him to go. He went and it changed the entire course of his life. There is no doubt he was called by God to go on that mission trip. Defying all logic, it was exactly what he was called to do. I am thankful I did not discourage him from going.
There’s a story in the Bible that illustrates my experience in life. Paul had been accused of sedition by the Jews who wanted to put him to death. Paul was taken to the Roman Governor, Felix in Caesarea to be tried on these charges. Felix found nothing wrong with Paul but kept him in prison to satisfy the Jews accusing him. Two years later Felix was succeeded by Festus who, like Felix, had not found any reason to put Paul to death. So Paul appealed to Caesar, which meant he would be shipped to Rome. But then King Agrippa came to town and consented to hear Paul’s case. We read in Acts 26:12, “And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.'” It didn’t make any sense to Agrippa just like my friend’s mission trip didn’t make any sense to me and my move to Richland didn’t make any sense to some of my friends.
Paul, however, knew he needed to go to Rome. At the beginning of Paul’s prolonged ordeal with Felix he was asked to present his case before the council of the Jews. Paul had defended himself against their charges. And then, “The following night the Lord stood by him (Paul) and said, ‘Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23:11) Paul was called by his Savior to go to Rome. It didn’t make sense to Agrippa or Festus. He could have been free that very day rather than be shipped to Rome to remain in prison.
We need each other. We need counsel from each another. But anyone who counsels you to ignore God’s call in favor of doing what makes common sense is giving common counsel rather than Godly counsel. Ultimately, if you want to experience the uncommon treasures in life, you must seek the uncommon sense of God rather than the common sense of man. How else would I find myself baptizing a young lady in the Pacific Ocean my first week back from a bike ride across America to raise awareness of the need for diapers? I think God for His uncommon guidance into uncommon life experiences that make a lot of uncommon sense!