Summer is a slow time for a campus ministry, and an even slower time for a campus minister. Before I came to this work, I was working in corporate America. One of the things that made me successful in that world was my tendency to stay busy. I like to be busy. I like to check things off a list, look back at the end of the day and say, “See what I accomplished!”
But this summer, I found that while there are things to do at the ministry, there’s just no way around it — it’s slow without students around. So I had time to think about things. One of those things was an interesting passage in II Kings 1 that caught my eye.
After evil King Ahab died, his son, Ahaziah had a mortal accident. He sent some of his people to a neighboring country to inquire of their gods if he would live. The angel of the Lord came to the prophet Elijah and told him to go rebuke the king for going to ask these false gods what he could have easily asked the God of Israel, and that the king would surely die as a result of that. When this message was relayed to him, Ahaziah is, of course, angry; so he sent some guards to presumably capture Elijah.
Then the king sent to him a captain of 50 men with his 50. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down’” (I Kings 1:9).
This one part stuck out to me about this story — Elijah was just sitting on the top of a hill. What was he doing? Here was the prophet who had just delivered a damning message to the king of Israel, and he was out sitting on top of a hill?
So, I’m thinking he’s either a madman or he has some purpose in this. While Elijah did do some crazy things, I don’t think we can characterize him as mad. The more I think about it, the more I see that this little phrase has a lot to say about this man’s cyclical work pattern.
Think about it. Elijah would receive a message from the Lord, go deliver said message and complete any accompanying work. Then he would go off by himself to sit on a hill and do what? Wait upon the Lord.Once he heard from the Lord, the process would start again.
This is a new perspective for a guy like me. It’s in my nature to view activity as productivity. But that’s a common human error. The number of things I do often has very little to do with the level of productivity in my life. What the Lord showed me through this story of Elijah is that I don’t have to manufacture work for myself in the slow moments. He would rather me go to the hill and sit patiently, earnestly seeking His face and will.
So this summer was about that. I took the time He had provided and tried to seek His face. Now that students are back and life is getting busy again, I’m thankful that He led me to this interesting little story about Elijah. For a campus minister that serves The Hill in Fayetteville going to the hill of the Lord is still a life-giving and necessary task.
That’s what I see when I look back on the summer at The Hedge.