One example of this type of unfinished business is with the prophet Elijah. Elijah was one of God's fiercest, most upfront prophets of the Bible. God called Elijah to stand up in front of all Israel and proclaim who the one and only God was. A lot of people did not appreciate Elijah's tact or the words he was proclaiming, especially King Ahab and his queen, Jezebel.
Elijah just "appears" out of the blue in 1st Kings 17. The Lord feeds him (through a raven courier service) and tells Elijah where to keep house. Elijah stands in front of King Ahab and tells him that no rain will fall until Elijah says otherwise. Somehow I don't think King Ahab alright with this. But as far as God and Elijah were concerned, God was the authority of ALL things and if the King wanted rain, he could ask the God who actually provides it.
From there Elijah is sent to the Widow at Zarephath, where God tells Elijah he will be fed and looked after. Because of this the widow is blessed with abundance of food and oil, which she had earlier explained to Elijah that she was about to cook her "last meal". Then to cap off his visit, Elijah, through the power and grace of God, raises her child back to life (the first recording of someone being bought back to life). God was moving through this man, to not only show that God is a god who deserves our prayers and devotion, but also, that He is a tender, loving and gracious God.
Suddenly we are at Mount Carmel and God has told Elijah to call all (850) the false prophets of Baal and of Asherah. Elijah presents a challenge to the prophets, one verse eight hundred and fifty, to prove whose God is actually the only, true God. The false prophets stand and plead and cut themselves for hours, calling out to their gods to light up the alter with fire. Nothing happens besides Elijah boldly proclaiming that maybe Baal has gone to relieve himself. Once the prophets have run out of steam, Elijah gets some attendants to pour water, practically flooding the alter. Then Elijah calls God to prove He is the God of Israel and WHAMMO fire engulfs the alter, totally incinerating it. Through this event, Elijah was showing that God was a God of power, and a God who hears and listens.
Elijah then prays for rain and Israel becomes wet for the first time in nearly three years. As you read this it is hard not to be amazed at how God is working through this prophet and wandering what Elijah is going to do next. It is a bit of a surprise when we read Elijah runs and hides for fear of his life. As he sulks in his cave, God come and speaks to him and asks "What are you doing here, Elijah?". Elijah sulks a bit more and God puts on a display of awesome power through wind, earth, fire and lighting.
God however was not in any of these, instead Elijah hears a gentle whisper and again God asks Elijah, what are you doing here? But Elijah wants no more part of this and pleads with God to remove him from this role, and so God calls Elisha to continue the mission originally set down for Elijah.
Any of us
What a pity to read this, to see how awesome God was using Elijah and yet when earthly fears came against him, Elijah withered and gave up. God does not want us to go down this same path. He has called each and every one of us to ministry. God knows that Satan will do everything to try and get you to give up, to throw in the towel, to not rely on God and His goodness.
What we need to understand though is that God never calls us to anything that He himself will not be a part of. God will be with you all the way and He will give you the strength and determination to see through any storm or trouble that comes your way.
We can see that in just the few things Elijah was able to do that each time he bought glory to God. He was able to show Israel that God was loving, powerful, glorious, strong, merciful and able to give abundantly. Our ministries should always bring glory to God. God is the authority on everything, He is the one who plants the ministry ideas in our heads and He is the one that makes our ministries a success.
So trust in God and all His goodness. Trust that He will always be with you no matter what ministry you feel called into. At the end of the day, don't leave without unfinished business.
Tim McDonald lives and works in Mackay Queensland with a family of four children. He leads YAC (Young Adults Cell) group and is the drummer in his church's youthful band.
Tim's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-mcdonald.html