For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly; and the LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?”

Genesis 30:30

Silhouettes of a baby, a toddler, a child, a teen, a grown man, a middle aged man, and a senior citizen.In yesterday’s devotion, I summarized a portion of Daniel Levinson’s theory of adult male development.
In his book entitled The Seasons of a Man’s Life, Levinson shows that a man goes through a season in which he has a powerful desire to “become one’s own man.” Levinson calls this season BOOM. In my devotion, I suggested that we can see an example of BOOM in Genesis 30, as Jacob seeks to break away from his boss and father-in-law, Laban, in order to provide for his own family. Jacob wants to become his own man.

I went through a similar season in my own life about 25 years ago. At that time, I was an associate pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. I was working for Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, who was not only my boss but also my pastor and mentor. I’ve said before that no person outside of my family has had a greater influence on my life than Lloyd. I had been working full-time for him for seven years, and I was in a season of great fruitfulness and joy in my work.

But, one day, a member of the pastor search committee from Irvine Presbyterian Church called me to see if I would be interested in becoming a candidate for senior pastor of their church. My initial instinct was to say “No.” But, much to my surprise, I sensed God nudging me to be more open. As I began talking with the folks from Irvine, I began to feel a new and unsettling feeling, a desire to have greater authority and responsibility in my pastoral life. My wife, Linda, who had taught human development in college, pointed to the work of Daniel Levinson. “You’re beginning to experience BOOM,” she explained. “What you’re going through is to be expected.”

That did not mean, of course, that I was supposed to become the pastor of Irvine Pres, the first church that ever wanted me to be their senior pastor. It didn’t mean it was the right time for me to leave Hollywood Pres and my mentor, Lloyd. What it did mean was that I needed to enter into a deep process of discernment, accepting what was happening in my inner life but not being governed by it. I needed to offer myself to the Lord in new ways. I needed to surrender to God my newfound desire to become my own man. Whatever else it meant, becoming my own man did not mean living apart from God’s authority. In fact, it meant surrendering more of myself to the Lord than I had ever done before.

As conversations with Irvine Pres became more serious, I realized that I had to tell Lloyd Ogilvie about them and the possibility that I might be leaving Hollywood. In tomorrow’s devotion, I’ll share that part of the story with you. For now, I’d encourage you to think and pray about whatever stage of life you are in. Allow the Lord to show you what’s happening within you and what he is doing in this process.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

Have you ever experienced anything like I did in this story? In what ways did you sense God’s presence during that season of your life?

What are you going through right now in your human development? How is God at work in this particular season of your life?

PRAYER:

Gracious God, thank you for creating us as people who continue to grow and develop throughout life. Thank you for being present with us in each and every season of life.

Help us, Lord, to be like “trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season” (Ps 1:3). No matter what season we are in, may our roots grow deeply into you so that we might be fruitful in the work of your kingdom.

Please give us eyes to see ourselves as you see us, and to see how you are at work in us, making us more and more like Christ. To you be all the glory!

Amen.

 

Image Credit: “Life-stages” by Nazrul Islam Ripon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.