I was leading an outreach one day in a neighborhood near our church. We had split up into two teams, going to various locations at which we knew would be divine appointments. At the end of the allotted time, we were to rendezvous at a certain location, and then head back to the church together. After waiting for ten minutes, we understood that the other team had been caught up in a lengthy, divine appointment. I decided to send my other two teammates off to find them and report back the details of their delay, while I would stay at the designated location in case they came back before my team could find them.
As I was standing on the curb, waiting for the teams to arrive, I noticed a young man walking toward me on the sidewalk. As he approached from about 50 yards away, a thought popped into my mind, “Roger.” Is that a word of knowledge? I asked. All that I heard in response was, “Roger.” By this time, the young man was about 20 yards away and quickly approaching. One more time I inquired, God, please let me know if this is a word of knowledge, and that You want me to minister to this young man. Once again, I heard “Roger.”
The young man was now within ten yards, so I decided to take a risk and test out this word of knowledge I had received. So, as he began to pass me on the sidewalk, I said with as much confidence as I could muster, “Excuse me, but is your name Roger?” I asked fully expecting that to be his name which would lead to an incredible divine appointment.
But, with a look of disdain, he jumped off the sidewalk, and said “Noooo!” as if I were trying to “pick up” on him. As he continued to walk down the street, I was filled with embarrassment, as it occurred to me how odd it was for a 45-year-old man to ask a 20-year-old if his name was “Roger.” Now, if his name had been Roger,
I’m sure his response would have been different, but in this case, it just came off like I was some sort of predator. I thought about chasing him down to explain, but immediately realized that I would probably just make things worse. And then I thought, At least I did not say that God had told me that his name was Roger; at least I did not defame Christianity. Hu, just thought I was a kook.
My next thought was, Thanks a lot, God. I just made a fool out of myself because I took a risk with a word of knowledge I thought You had given me. The response I heard shocked me, “Kevin, I gave you the name ‘Roger.’” “
What? You purposely gave me the wrong name?” I shot back. “Yes, I did, because I want to see if you will continue to take risk even if you do not get the right information.” He went on to say that He was not interested in the success of the performance, but in the act of obedience, apart from the outcome.
I know this story is out of the box for many, and I would not suggest that God is in the habit of giving false words of knowledge to test our resolve. But for me, it was a unique and specific lesson about how God is more interested in the level of my risk-taking than the level of my success.
I still miss, but not because God gives me the wrong word; that was a one-time occurrence; rather I miss because I am still learning to discern the voice of the Lord. What I have learned, however, is that every step of risk is rewarded equally, regardless of the results.
God rewards faith not the performance.