In March after ten years, we returned to Mexico to serve as a family for two weeks. Ben spoke to the students and staff at Puebla Christian school where he attended for six years, 23 years ago. Here I wanted to give you a peek into the heart of my amazing husband through his words. There are few people I have meant in my life with greater humility, honesty, perseverance, integrity, genuine care for people (always believing the best about them), steadfast faith and daily focus on Jesus and eternity. He’s a no-frills, self-proclaimed hands-on man and deems himself an ineffective communicator (I beg to differ as might you after you read his words) who would rather set up 12 campsites alone than speak publicly–but he also believes in doing hard things, willing to model this for his boys. Enjoy!
Top 10 Things I’ve learned in the Last 23 Years:
10. We all feel God’s pleasure and hear His voice in different ways. You would think this is obvious, but it has taken me years to come to peace with this truth, comfortable in my walk with God. I love to work with my hands and it may sound crazy but when I fix someone’s toilet, hang a door or build a cabinet I feel God’s pleasure! When hike in the mountains or kayak at daybreak out to the ocean I sense His majesty and talk with Him. When I play bass in worship my fingers are much quicker in being able to communicate than my mouth. When I read about the intricacies of science and design, the wisdom of God overwhelms me. I’m not one that has seen angels, speaks a prophetic word or can pull from Scripture some profound message to share. God has made you with the ability to know Him. But we each will know Him in different ways. This is okay!
9. God cannot be put into the boxes we construct for Him. We’ve all got these God-boxes. And many of them we have constructed out of fear, the need to control or because that is what we have always been taught. They feel safe and comfortable. I know this too well. But my prayer for years has been, “God, give me all you’ve got–show me your fullness in any measure you want to!” Why would we put on the brakes when it comes to the full revelation of who He is? I urge you, look for a bigger God! Walk in the vibrancy of the Holy Spirit! He wants to do more in and through our lives than we can begin to imagine. My wife and I have experienced this over and over these last 13 years. There are more stories than I would have time to tell. So don’t commit the crime of living cautiously with your God-boxes.
8. Love people. My favorite scripture is Hebrews 10:23-24, “Let is hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” It is the Word of God–this hope we have and people who matter. Love them all around you and love them well. Always believe the best about them but put your hope and trust in God not in people. They will let you down. They (and I) will disappoint you. But He will not. So love, see everyone around you as special and worth your time. I’ve been in the working world rat-race for twelve years and I’ve met plenty un-lovable people both inside and outside the church. So I know it is not easy, but it is the heart of Jesus that we love one another and forgive as He has forgiven us.
7. Being a godly man doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a pastor, evangelist, or leader of a huge ministry. How many of you here, many of you missionary kids like me, have felt that people expect a lot of you as if you must be super-spiritual and turn into some sort of charismatic leader? Yes, I felt that pressure too. But the truth is I would stink at being a leader of some big (even a small) company or a pastor or anyone like that. Trust me. But I’ll serve behind the scenes and I’ll be the best right hand man you could ask for–I’ll enable the larger vision! For years I struggled with “How can I be a godly man if I am not a leader”? The church even puts that pressure on guys! A godly man and one who is a leader is a man who serves, who protects, who others count on, who enables other people to grow, who takes the hits and the risks (especially for his wife), who prays about all things all the time making this as normal as breathing. Again, be who God made you to be! Rich Mullins, you know the guy who wrote “Awesome God” said this, “If you’re a plumber and become a Christian, you don’t quit being a plumber to become a preacher. You become a great plumber because your work is infused by your faith.” Work is a gift from God and it all matters to Him. A godly man works hard!
6. I fail…and that’s OK. There is a difference between failing and being a failure. Times of failure are actually times of growth. Take it from me, I’ve lost about 13 jobs! Granted only two of those were “my fault” (most were company lay-offs) but still, I didn’t expect when I was in your shoes to walk through 13 job losses as a man who needed to provide for my family. I got a college degree and have sought the Lord about every decision I have made–I don’t look back and see where I would have changed anything. But still, failure is going to come. You can either allow it to take you down or you can keep getting back up and getting in the game, being faithful and trusting it is all making you into someone more than you were a year ago. So you will fail. Own it. Learn from it.
5. Brokenness makes you “ready” to serve, not perfection. If you think the person you are “ministering” to needs the Gospel more than you do every day of your life, than you have no business doing “ministry”. If you can lean on yourself in any way than you are not leaning on Jesus. My times of failure drove me to utter dependence on Christ–not my own abilities, background, education, clean records. We’ve walked through many years of loss and questions and neediness. This has been our best preparation and we feel we know the heart of Jesus more than ever before.
4. Mean people need extra love. Wounded animals snarl when they are hurting–it is no different with people, so have compassion on them. There was a boy in my high school in Texas, Joaquin. He was odd and always mean and angry. Many people picked on him and stayed away from him. I remember thinking there was something underneath all that facade and trying to treat him with simple dignity. One day he did not come back to school, ever. You see he hurt himself really bad (you older ones here understand what I mean). I’ve never forgotten that, not that I feel I alone could have prevented it, but this sad story reminds me that we walk among hurting people who all have a story and we must have compassion and mercy and not take the snarls personally.
3. Don’t play the game to impress others–it’s useless and it’s all self. Personally I hate when people get introduced with all of their titles and accomplishments. I hate it when we try to impress each other with slick marketing or the latest trends and fashions. Kids, just be yourself, be a person that “what you see is what you get.” Don’t let insecurity drive you–we are all naked before God and we are here to glorify Him. All else is a waste of your time and energy and don’t waste your life. Remember if you do, you are making it all about you and not about Jesus.
2. Be above reproach–in everything. Let me give you an example: I’ve replaced many windows. When you take the old one out and you see there is rot in that trim and down through the wall, you could just cover it all up with the new window and trim and make it look really good. I’ve seen many guys do this. Or you could replace the rot with new stuff so it not only looks good on the outside but it will last for years and cause the customer no long-term problems. To be above reproach has often made me slower than my co-workers and it’s a bother to employers and yes I’ve lost a job because I refused to do cover-up jobs. But when you do the right thing than before God you have no regrets; you have a clear conscience (even if you’ve driven people nuts), a good name and live with God’s peace. You can’t buy this! Noble things are always harder, but in the long run worth it.
1. God calls each one of His children to play a role in the Body of Christ. I love this truth! What peace and joy it brings me! Look, I have here a hammer and a screwdriver. Here is a screw that needs to go into this hole in this piece of wood. What is the better tool for this particular job? The screwdriver! Know what tool God has created you to be and be that tool for the job to the best of your ability (which is different than the next person’s ability), serving God and others well. You will discover this more and more! You don’t know yet what you are capable off and there are still things I don’t know I am capable of! I find this exciting! Our response to how God has made us is simple obedience and trust–not gauging your life, comparing yourself with others and striving. My “job” is to be the best Ben Blycker to the glory of God!