God’s Gentle Persuasion regarding This Versus That

by Patti Richter

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5 NIV

I tried pushing the sewing needle through the layers of fabric again and again. Deciding the needle must be dull, I chose another one and went back to work—with no success.

The other ladies surrounding the framed quilt worked easily while I spent at least ten minutes in my attempt to make just one stitch. I had hoped to become a part of this group by joining my church’s quilting ministry, which raised funds for those in need. But now, frustrated and embarrassed, I mentally scratched the new activity off my list of goals in the new year.

Yet, even with the mortification I felt, I was struck by the realization that God may have just 1answered the short prayer I uttered before heading to the quilting club that night: Please, Lord, help me to know if I belong in this group.

I drove home disappointed about giving up the opportunity to spend time with those mostly older women. They had a lifetime of wisdom I could’ve tapped into seamlessly as we worked side by side. Driving in the darkness, my view of God’s involvement in my life grew dim; I wondered if it really mattered to him whether I chose to serve in one ministry versus another.

Later, recalling some lines from the book of James, I had an answer to that question:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15 NIV).

Those verses reminded me that God knows our future. And he’s willing to provide direction based on his foreknowledge.

Before his death on the cross and return to heaven, Jesus comforted his disciples with the promise of the coming Holy Spirit, saying, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever…. But you will know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 NIV).

Not long after my quilting club failure, the pastor’s wife asked me to consider serving as a coordinator for a women’s outreach ministry the church had planned. Since the role would involve recruiting volunteers, I felt both unsuited and unenthusiastic about jumping in. Yet, after praying about it, I sensed the gentle persuasion of the Holy Spirit.

After saying yes to this ministry opportunity, I could hardly believe it when an older woman signed up to assist me and said she could recruit many of her senior-adult friends as well! I went on to serve in the coordinator role for ten years, working side by side with more than a dozen well-seasoned saints.

I’m so thankful for God’s guidance concerning this versus that.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles. She also serves as an editor for Arise Daily.

Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation. Has God guided you into a ministry? Please share!



4 thoughts on “God’s Gentle Persuasion regarding This Versus That

  1. Yes, God has guided me into many ministries. From forming breast cancer support group( because of my breast cancer in 2005) to becoming a Stephen Minister to volunteering at homeless shelters, and other minisitries, God has guided me along the way. I am thankful for His plans.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patti, it is so true that God leads us in and sometimes leads us out of a particular ministry. When we sense the leading of the Holy Spirit, we have peace. Thanks for sharing! Fran

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Patti, for these encouragements. I remember when I first heard many years ago, “A need is not necessarily a call.” I think that wisdom fits in perfectly with your ideas. Thank you.


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