FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Ministers of the gospel are not called to survive; they are called to serve, said Bob Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, during a chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 13.
“God is going to mold you and shape you, and make you usable as leaders,” said Reccord preaching from Malachi 3. “But I need to tell you something, it won’t primarily happen on the Mount of Transfiguration. It will primarily happen in the valley of challenge, trials and suffering.”
Reccord said the Lord has a way of bringing people he wants to use into the fire of refinement, “because he understands that broken leaders are always the best leaders.”
The tough times will come for people in the ministry, Reccord said, but it is important to remember what is happening during those times.
“When you find yourself in the tough times in the valleys of life and in the challenges and the trials through which you are walking, don’t say, ‘Oh, me,’ but say, ‘Praise God,’ because it is there that God is shaping you for what he’s ultimately got for you,” Reccord said.
The Lord uses storms to direct Christians’ sense of security back to him, Reccord said, using the story of Peter’s walking on and sinking into the water as an example of someone looking at the effects of the storm rather than focusing on the one who controls the storms.
“When he (Peter) saw the effects of the wind he didn’t feel secure anymore and that’s when he began to sink, because he tried to be secure in himself,” Reccord said. “You don’t get security in who you are. You get security in who (God) is.”
It is not only during the storms when Christians must be careful to focus on God but also during the pleasant calm on top of the mountain, Reccord continued.
“It’s after the highest point of victory that often we are the most dangerously close to the lowest point of defeat,” Reccord said. “It’s where we get secure in ourselves.”
Reccord said that many times Christians ask the wrong questions when the refining fire of God comes into their lives, starting their questions with “why” rather than “what.”
“‘God, what do you want to teach me in this?’ and ‘God, what do you want to change in me through this?'” Reccord said Christians should ask. “When the heat’s up and the valley’s deep and the days are dark, the questions I better be asking are not the why questions they are the what questions.”
Reccord learned these lessons firsthand when his wife was struck with a brain tumor over a decade ago. From that experience, he said he learned so much about how the Lord uses trials to shape Christians.
One night before one of her surgeries, Reccord asked his wife how she was doing. She replied simply, “Job 13:15.” That verse reads, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”
“It was in the middle of the valley that I learned from one in the heart of the valley what God dependency is,” said Reccord
Reccord closed by saying Christians should expect the Lord to take the steps of an ancient metal refiner.
“If he loves you, he’ll break you,” Reccord said. “If he loves you, he’ll put you in the heat. If he loves you, he will remove the impurities from your life. Oh, but as he loves you, he will put you into a mold that he can incredibly use.”