So this guy’s on his way to a really important meeting and the train is late to pick him up. He’s really ticked off ’cause this meeting could mean a really big promotion for him. As he’s waiting for the train, he looks around and sees everyone else without a care in the world. Kids are laughing and playing, parents are joking–no one seems to be worried that the train is late except for him. It frustrates him that everyone else doesn’t seem to mind so he stomps his foot, huffs and puffs and grumbles in a loud voice, hoping someone will see his frustration and catch on to the fact that the train is late. Some people acknowledge his frustration and it begins to make one or two others angry as well. The rest couldn’t care less, they’re having the time of their lives! An hour and a half past the scheduled time the train finally arrives. The conductor says all aboard and begins taking people’s tickets. The frustrated man, along with his converted frustrated clan, push their way to the front. After a cutting remark to the conductor and a nasty look to a smiling little girl, he takes his place in his seat. He pulls down his shade and folds his arms wishing he could make time go faster. For the next two hours all he can do is grow angrier and angrier at the ignorantly oblivious passengers. They’re looking out the window, pointing at the sites, laughing and enjoying the ride. All the angry man can focus on is how he will not be happy until he arrives at his destination. He won’t have to deal with these people, he will finally get that promotion, he will finally make his mark in the world. The final minutes seem like hours and as the train finally pulled into the station, he jumped up and excitedly declared, “at last, we’re here at my final destination!” Pushing his way in front of the passengers he jumped off the train and fell flat on his face. As he picked himself up and looked around he realized this place wasn’t all that fun. He realized it was the journey that would prepare him for this destination if only he had taken it in. This time the man was not angry, but instead he sadly wished he could turn back time. He wished he could go back to the that station and not be so impatient. He wished he would have enjoyed his surroundings and smiled at that little girl, he wished he would have opened his shade and marveled at the magnificent sights and scenery. But it was too late; the journey was done and the destination wasn’t all what he thought it would be. He wasn’t ready for his meeting; he wasn’t prepared for this new place because he didn’t take in the journey and learn what it had to teach. The other angry passengers looked at him with hate. He made them miss their journey because of his terrible attitude. He never thought the journey would be the lesson he needed to learn, he never thought the journey would prepare him for his final destination. The man was hopeless and felt deep remorse for how he caused others pain. He wished he had another chance to make things right, to start again. He went to his meeting and pulled it off but didn’t get the promotion he wanted. The next day he went to the station and waited for the train to arrive. When the train was late he began to grumble, and it was like dejavu. He huffed and puffed and kicked and stomped, angry again that he wasn’t at his destination. How quickly he had forgotten the pain he caused and the lesson he didn’t learn– that the journey was what would prepare him for his final destination.
Awhile ago I watched a movie called Click, starring Adam Sandler. This movie, as with most Sandler movies, has its crude parts. However, it did make a great point and I was really impressed with Adam Sandler’s acting. It tells a story similar to the one I told above about a man who is so eager to get to his destination and will do anything to get there. He neglects his wife and kids and becomes a workaholic. When time doesn’t move fast enough for him through a series of events he gets a remote from a weirdo scientist played by Christopher Walken. This remote is amazing! Or is it? It not only controls the T.V. but it controls EVERYTHING else! He’s able to pause, rewind and fast forward through the boring parts of his life. What he doesn’t know (it’s always the things we don’t know) is that the remote has a memory and remembers the things that you don’t like and fast forwards them for you automatically. Before he knows it he’s 65, divorced and his kids have turned into workaholics just like their old man. At the end he’s lying on his deathbed wishing he would have enjoyed the journey and not had been in such a rush.
Six years ago when I started Elevate Industries I was passionate in wanting to win the lost. I knew God had called me and was going to open up the flood gates and in no time I would be speaking to stadiums full of people. I wish I could say it happened like that! Actually, it all started at an alternative school of about 15 kids. I spoke my heart out and then I waited for the next event, and then I waited….then I waited some more……then some more….then, you guessed it, waited some more. I knocked on doors (figuratively speaking) called people up and then…… I waited! Come on God what the heck is this! You called me! You told me I would be used by you to win the lost–where are the stadiums!? Where are the huge crowds? I remember one time speaking to a youth group in Wisconsin of about 10 kids. I booked about 8 services in Minnesota and Wisconsin and rented a car and drove from place to place. With my flight, car rental, food, (I like food), lodging and gas, it averaged out to be $90 per place just to cover my expenses. At this one particular place in the middle of Nowheresville Wisconsin after I spoke, the youth pastor came up to me handed me the check and said “Im so glad you came! We have such a hard time getting people to come to this little church and speak.” I thought to myself “I’m just glad there were people!” I thanked her and put the check in my pocket without looking at it, as I still do to this day. Later when I was at the place I was staying (I know you’re thinking he’s a big time evangelist so he probably stayed in the Ritz Carlton or something! Nope, my friend’s parents’ basement, the price was right and the food was good!) I looked at the check and it was for $50. It felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. Here I am giving my best and I was going to be going back home only to look at my wife and say, “sorry honey, we actually didn’t make money on this trip, we didn’t even break even, we’re in the hole about $400!” It wasn’t that bad I actually ended up coming out on top $200 and that was for two weeks.
What happened to the huge crowds, the stadiums…yeah tell me about it. Needless to say the first two years on my own were pretty discouraging. In the first year out on my own I spoke to 10,740 people. Of those 10,740 people guess how many of them were in stadiums or huge crowds? A big fat 0, none, niente, nada, and however else you say it in every other language. I had to fight for those 10,740 people, I had to pound my fist on the ground till at times it was bloody for those 10,740 people, and you know there were times I would start feeling sorry for myself. I would doubt my calling, I would wonder if I was really cut out for it. There were times I wish I could have fast forwarded till I was speaking to the stadiums. Then I came across a short but yet powerful verse in Luke 16:10 that says: “Unless you are faithful with the small you will not be trusted with the larger.” I’d read that verse before ,but now it actually meant something to me. I remember God speaking to me when I was on a four-month sabbatical, not by my choosing but because I didn’t have any place to speak. I was feeling sorry for myself and God said, ‘Hey, why don’t you use this down time to prepare for the stadiums?” Have you ever had someone tell you something and it’s totally obvious and after they tell it to you, you feel stupid for not figuring it out yourself? Yeah, well that’s how I felt. I climbed down off of the feeling sorry for Jason shelf, dusted myself off and began to prepare for the greater things God had in store for me. I started not to worry about the bookings and instead began to get ready for what God would bring. It’s amazing because when I got my mind off of “I gotta get places to speak!” and instead focused on “I need to be ready for when God gives me places to speak!” doors opened up! Instead of praying “God please provide financially!” I began to pray “God open up the doors so I can win the lost!” I changed my perspective and overnight my outlook changed.
I no longer think about what’s next. Don’t misunderstand, I prepare for what’s next but I live in the now, learning what God has for me so when I get to the next I will be ready! I’ve known several people in my life that are never satisfied–they are always wanting higher pay or a bigger home, more of this or that. They are never content and you know what? They never will be. I’m so blessed to be used by God to speak to his people, Tomorrow God may choose to take it all away, but Im fine with that because it’s his dream that he has entrusted to me not my dream. Learn to be content, learn what God has for you now, to prepare you for the later.