Have you ever been like Abraham and Sarah?  God had promised something wonderful and you are tired of waiting?  Of course, this impatience only produces an Ishmael that will cause contention and pain for years.

Often I tend to blame the Ishmael’s in my life, rather than put the blame for the trouble produced where it is needed, squarely on my shoulders.  In ministry, I believe that we are constantly in danger of producing Ishmael’s.  Of course, our purpose is only for the good of the ministry.  We only have the goodwill and future spiritual growth of our members at heart but…  Producing an Ishmael is never a good plan.

The past few years, our Melbourne program has seen no growth.  We would gain a member.  Then we would lose a member.  You know the process.  No growth always leads to death.  That could be an actual quick death or a slow dying process that eats at the inner being of the ministry. 

I seemed to be able to do nothing but pray.  People would sometimes ask, “What is your growth plan?”  I had to admit that I could not come up with anything. 

In the past, I’ve fallen into the trap of wanting growth more than God.  Perhaps, it’s my age, but this time I’ve been willing to wait on God to move.  It appears that he has.  This Sunday, with new members coming each week this month, our numbers were up above the norm.  I am grateful that God has begun to move again, touching hearts and bringing in new members and bringing back others.

God will do what he has promised but the danger is not being able to wait.  Then our impatience produces an Ishmael.  Has your impatience ever produced an Ishmael?  How have you been able to work around your Ishmael?