As I look back on my 57 years of life I am thankful for the perspective that comes with time. We know from scripture that the Lord is the one who directs our steps, and boy, am I thankful.
I grew up in an unbelieving family of eight, attending an unbelieving church. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, so I studied cell biology. My last year of undergraduate school I worked part time at UPS loading trucks. It was a great job – I got off work at 9:00 am and had plenty of time for classes. The week I graduated my name came up on the seniority list to qualify for driving. Many friends had advised me to take a year off before medical school, so I thought, why not drive? I was young and it was fun and I was making more money than most of my friends.
About this time I fell back into some old high school friendships and began dating my best friend’s old girlfriend. We fell in love and were married. We had our first son, and my wife suggested that we should take him to church. I thought, why not? I remembered that. You sit in the pews and play with your friends. It seemed pretty harmless. This church was different, though. The man up front was teaching from the Bible. I decided that, if we were going to go every week, I was going to figure this stuff out.
I picked up the Bible and began reading at Genesis 1. Over the course of the next two years I read every day and every word. I read no other books over that time period. Almost two years to the day after I had started, I finished, reading Revelation 21 where the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, and I knew that it was real.
I went to a friend at work that day who was a truck driver by day and pastored a small black church in Mississippi. I told him what had happened and he explained to me God’s plan for salvation. I went home that day a new creature in Christ. When I got home that night my wife was washing dishes. I told her what had happened to me and she ran crying into the bedroom. I thought – great – there goes my marriage. She came out with the Bible that she had bought me that day as a Christmas gift, and we began our lives together in Christ.
A funny thing happened. We started having kids and I continued driving for UPS and thoughts of medical school disappeared. Over the last 33 years I have seen why the Lord has put me driving a truck instead of working as a physician. In 1989 He began to burden me with the prayers of His people. I started carrying index cards in my shirt pocket, writing down names and prayer requests. It soon began to be a habit to pray as I drove, and now it has become second nature. Over the years the Lord has refined my time with Him and I understand what it means to pray continually.
My prayer ministry at work is a function of the way that God wired me – I’m a little compulsive and very disciplined which lends itself well to extended prayer time. But it is also the grace of God to do in and through me that which I could not do on my own. He has given me a unique job with lots of time to pray. I am out in the country on a rural route and literally have several hours a day to pray. It’s been fun to see what He has put on my heart and to see His faithfulness in answering prayer.
Over the last few years He has called me to begin my time in prayer as worship, which seems counterintuitive to me. I have lots to pray about, and am very task oriented, so I feel like I need to get right to my list, but He is telling me that there is something better: to be with Him and to worship Him. It’s been humbling because inevitably people ascribe to me that which He alone can do. They forget that He can bring dry bones to life, He can raise the dead, He alone can change the hearts of men, and that he use the low things of the world as vehicles for His grace so that He alone receives the glory.
The lesson that I am learning as God uses my blue collar job to advance His kingdom is that all things are truly from him and through him and to him – to Him be all the glory!
Contributed by Mike Warner
Read other Stories of Integrating Faith and Work:
- Alleviating Poverty Through Business: Evan Keller
- Computer Programming: Josh
- Pastor: Beau Berman
- Share How You Integrate Faith and Work