On God's Time

Patrick Pingel

Galatians 4:7

… You are no longer a slave, but God’s child…

The relentless work demands of my job have made me a highly effective protector of my time. I am also a father of five, music minister, volunteer at my church, and an occasional basketball coach when I’m not leading my organization of 190 employees and 280-plus residents. These responsibilities, coupled with a desire to do things at a high level, have made me overly wary of anything and anyone asking for my time.

Though drawn to Christians in Commerce (CIC), I was initially unwilling to join for fear of the time commitment. Then a friend began to share how his life was being transformed through CIC. His enthusiasm was contagious as he shared story after story of God changing lives through his emboldened willingness to share Christ in the workplace.

Something stirred within my heart as he spoke. I hungered to be that kind of courageous spokesperson for my faith and knew the key was to surround myself with other people committed to the same cause.

My friend invited me to attend a CIC Challenge Weekend. I was polite but had no intention of coming because I was convinced I could not afford the time.

Even so, God continued to pull at my heart to attend. As I struggled with the fear of demands on my schedule, it occurred to me to ask for my wife’s discernment on the matter. After all, she understood just how busy I was. I was certain she would confirm that I lacked the capacity to attend a Challenge Weekend.

After hearing all my thoughts and arguments, however, she stunned me by saying, “I think God is obviously stirring your heart and wants you to go.” The Holy Spirit had spoken, and I knew it.

That night, as the clock neared midnight, still gripped by anxiety, I finally hit “send” on my confirmation email. I experienced a wave of peace that I had not known for a very long time. God began to show me just how much energy I was expending protecting my time. I had become a slave to fear of time commitments and had unwittingly made myself unavailable to God.

It was the beginning of a new freedom in my life to surrender all my time and responsibilities to God. The Challenge Weekend was utterly transformative as others generously shared their time and lives in Christ with me!

A test of my newfound freedom came when, at the end of the weekend, someone asked for my contact information. Previously, this simple request would have evoked fear of a possible demand on my time. Now, the fear was gone and in its place only peace and joy at the thought of sharing Christ with others on God’s time. I even started a weekly Challenge Group at work!

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Am I enslaved to any fears?