Straight from a Heart that Finishes Well
By Lisa Elliott

After four decades of pastoral ministry, my husband and I have come to the end of this season of ministry. While this is the end of an era, I also know it is the beginning of something new. He is definitely not finished with us yet.

By the time I write my next blog, we will have run the course and be waiting quietly upon the Lord for our next steps. However, as I reflect upon four decades of pastoral ministry, Deuteronomy 8:2-18 (NIV) could very well be my testimony. It says:

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

Based upon this profound passage, here are the ways that the Lord has shown up in my own life and ministry over the last forty years:

  • I have been humbled and tested to know what was in my heart. (vs. 2)
  • I have experienced God’s generous provision. (vs. 3)
  • I have been taught about the undeniable life-giving power of God’s Word. (vs. 3)
  • I have experienced His intimate care. (vs. 4)
  • I have known His fatherly love through discipline. (vs. 5)
  • I have been assured of His ongoing provision, care and abundance into my future. (vss. 6-10)
  • I have been reminded of His faithfulness in the past and the importance of remembering Him into my future. (vss. 11-14)
  • I have recognized His power in my weakness and that it’s nothing I’ve done, but everything that God has done to strengthen and sustain me.

To God be the glory! Great things He has done.

About this Contributor:

Lisa Elliott

Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple, Dancing in the Rain, and A Ministry Survival Guide. She’s also a writer for Just Between Us Magazine, theStory, and Good Ground. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (three on earth, one in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

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