I spent a few years as a pastor. And I screwed it up. Yes, it was often a thankless job, but the mistakes that led to its demise were no one else’s fault but my own. The details are not pertinent, but they are etched in my memory. As is the destruction that followed.
The result was that I had an illegitimate excuse to wander about for a few years. I served the Lord as I saw fit and, in the end, I ended up worse than ever. Eventually destroying my marriage and leaving myself homeless.
Jump forward a few years later. God had refused to forget me. He had once possessed my heart. At least a portion of it. But He never let go. His faithfulness found me in a new state and a new town. And I met a new lady. But she had strong standards. Surprisingly, as I fought myself to come back into covenant with Jesus, I realized her standards attracted my heart.
I was blessed to have fallen in love a second time. Not only with this beautiful woman, but with Jesus. Though I was done with church, now I suddenly found myself loving a whole bunch of people that I barely knew. God was putting my heart in a place I didn’t want to be. Yet I walked into it willingly.
My worldliness was being turned upside down and I was never happier. And God’s plans for me were just getting started.
When I Said “No” To God
One day, our associate pastor said that if we wanted to truly get to know God, we needed more than just a few minutes in the Word and a prayer or two. I wholeheartedly agreed. He said we needed to seek the Holy Spirit every day. “Ask for Him to refill you each morning.” That popped. So shortly after I was re-married, we (my wife and I) added that to our daily prayers.
As we had courted, my first book was published. The day the shipment arrived at the house, I wept like a baby. God was pouring stuff into me that I had no other source for. It had to be Him.
Three months after we began praying that the Presence of God would fill us daily (twice, actually – morning and evening), I realized that God was putting me in places to minister to others. And I was not okay with that.
I looked back at the horrible mistakes I had made within the realm of being a pastor. I hated what I had done. I hated what had happened to those around me. Especially my former wife and my children. Things were done that I could not repair or fix. Or make go away.
Granted it wasn’t like someone had asked me to pastor a church or lead a youth group. But it was ministry. And I wanted nothing to do with it. I was basically saying no to God’s direction. I fooled myself into thinking I was being noble by this action. I felt that I had no right and that I couldn’t trust myself from hurting others.
By now, I had a third book published. It was my greatest joy just to write books. It was a great passion. It truly fulfilled my life. I was married to a beautiful woman of God and lived on a hundred-acre farm. It was a beautiful, rich life. I was as happy as I could be.
Most afternoons, my wife and I would take a walk down the driveway to the pavement. On one particular afternoon, we walked along discussing the things that were going on in our life. I brought up this ministry thing. I said point-blank, “I just want to write books. I don’t want ministry or any of that stuff. Just write books.”
My wife stopped me and smiled. “So you have been praying for the infilling of the Holy Spirit for all this time and now that He is going to use you, you don’t want anything to do with it?”
I looked at her in shock. Not at what she said, but at what I had been proposing. I realized I was asking God for His blessings in my life and telling Him, “No, I don’t want that!” at the same time! What a maroon!
God Knows Better
Now looking back I have come to a simple conclusion: A person may not want to do what God wants them to do. Do it anyway. You will find it to be something you will actually love! Because God knows us much better than we do!
Where in your life have you said ‘no’ to God?
What was the outcome?
Matt has been writing blogs since 2008. Newspaper articles prior to that. Most of it has been about the goodness of God. “Life’s greatest purpose is God and all that entails.” He has written and published seven books with a long list waiting in line. His prolific writing is attributed, by himself, to a gift from the Great Master Author. The books range from devotionals to Christian and family fiction. The genres’ variety has demanded that he use pen names. So he writes all his devotionals and blogs under “Matt Davenport”. Adult/Christian fiction is written under M.R.Davenport. And he writes Y.A. under E.M.Oliver. The Y.A. writing is currently under a goal of two separate series’ that will, eventually, converge into one another. These two series’ involve a total of 10 books (one written and published already) that are set to culminate by the end of 2025.
He is married to his best friend and editor, Nancy. Between the two of them, they have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. They are blessed to reside on a beautiful, old farm (built during the Civil War) which they share with a very large heard of goats and two chummy barn cats. Which is all located in Oregon.
“While my work will always have a great range of story and character, I will never be embarrassed by children (mine or someone else’s) reading it.”
Sapphire Arts is his and his wife’s company. It is still in the baby stages and will eventually combine a publishing and design LLC. Add to that the talent they both have for creation (woodcraft, seamstress craft, digital design, etc), and SA will have much to offer.
They have a daily (Monday through Saturday) online Bible Study at 9 a.m. Pacific time. It is open to anyone who wishes to join in and watch by requesting to be friends with Matt on Facebook.