HEAVY GOES FIRST
Tony Lynn - State Director of Missions
When I was a teenager working with my father and my uncles we worked following certain rules. I still follow one of those important rules, “Heavy gets the right of way.” I can still hear my dad saying that phrase in my mind. Hold it. It’s not what you think. It doesn’t mean the fattest guy gets to go first! It means when people are moving furniture or putting tools away that whoever is carrying the heaviest load gets to move without anyone else interrupting his path. If we didn’t heed the rule then we heard something more aggressive like this: “Get out of his way!”
The reason I bring that rule to your attention is because I wanted to warn you that God is moving something BIG. So, let’s remember, “Heavy gets the right of way.” Since becoming the State Director of Missions I have become keenly aware that God is sharing his heavy load with many who are ready to shoulder God’s burden of church starting, strengthening, and sending. Here is an example. During one midday drive from Detroit back to the State Office, I received a unique phone call. A pastor from another Midwestern state called my cell phone.
He explained as he spoke with gasps, “I climbed a hill and I’m standing on a mound in rural southwestern Michigan trying to get a signal so I can talk to you. My wife and I are on a spiritual retreat in Michigan. After two days of rest we went to visit Battle Creek.” He paused, then rushing his words together, asked, “Could you use a new church in Battle Creek? You see since visiting the city I can’t get it off of my mind. I think God wants me to leave my church and start a new church in Battle Creek.” Can you hear my dad’s warning? Heavy gets the right of way! The man had a burden on his heart.
Supper with three families talking about reaching Michigan
(Photo courtesy Tony Lynn)
Another example is when Pastor Tim Patterson, Pastor Jerome Taylor, and I went to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC on February 11. After chapel services, 17 students joined us for a luncheon. Four of those students were from Michigan. As we shared updates on Michigan, there were three moments when everyone could feel the heavy burden in the room. It seemed to me that God was laying a weight on our united hearts.
First, a former military soldier from Muskegon, Bruce, choked-up as he issued an invitation to his fellow students to come to Michigan. He said, "I didn't come to the luncheon to ask questions. I came to seek the Lord's will. I now know that I need to return to Michigan." Second, when Pastor Tim passionately shared about unreached people groups residing in Greater Detroit certain students leaned forward over their empty lunch plates as if a heavy burden had been placed on their back. Third, when Pastor Jerome described opportunities popping up where someone could replant a new church others stretched their necks to catch every word. You could see the intensity on their faces. A heavy burden fell on us.
Later that evening, Tim Patterson, Jerome Taylor, and I went to supper with three families who have committed to come to Ann Arbor to start a new church. You can see the glowing faces of those heroic families in the picture. There are too many amazing facts to share for now; but, just look at those smiling faces and soak up the fact that carrying a heavy burden for the Lord isn’t a strain, it’s a joy. Jesus said in Matthew 11:30 (NLT), “For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” As the months and years of church starting, strengthening, and sending continue let’s remember, “Heavy gets the right of way.” There are just some rules that are worth remembering.