Thoughts on a vocational journey
by Steve Bunting
Proverbs 16:9 in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
The comments my father made at my graduation from alcohol and drug rehab in October of 1987 still resonate with me today. The most profound words were “Steve is a builder” not surprisingly, dad was right. I’m not sure he even knew how prophetic his words were. I will get back to his comments later.
As a young boy, I never really enjoyed going to school. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t enjoy learning; I just wasn’t geared for the classroom. If I could hold something, turn it upside down, shake it, take it apart and then put it back together. Most of the time, I was intrigued. Turns out, that form of learning was frowned on by most of my teachers…who knew! I did however enjoy shop class, because, in the prophetic words of my father “Steve is a builder”. While I didn’t enjoy going to school, I do have fond memories of the bus trip to elementary school. You see after picking me up at my stop, the bus would travel on to several additional stops before heading to our destination. I would sit on the driver’s side of the bus and lean my head on the window to daydream and observe the ride. The final few stops were in a low income neighborhood. The bus would slowly wind through the narrow streets making a couple of stops and then exiting at the back of the neighborhood. On the corner, right behind the neighborhood and on the main road, was a large fenced-in yard, nothing particularly interesting about that, unless you are a “builder”! This yard was amazing to me, I looked forward to seeing it every day. The chain link fence was eight feet tall and had barbed wire on the top to protect the contents. Inside this fence was the largest collection of construction equipment I had ever seen. Bull dozers, backhoes, excavators, concrete forms you name it they had it and lots of it. I was totally mesmerized. I remember thinking “I sure wish I could work there”. Thank God for a Vision!
Back to dad’s comments and fast forward about 17 years. After nearly a decade of working in the music industry, that’s the finessed way of saying DJing in bars, I had become lost. I had also developed an addiction to drugs and alcohol. I was in bad shape. Because I had been raised differently by God fearing parents and after a childhood filled with bible school, Sunday school, church camp and of course Sunday morning Services, I knew that my life had recklessly swerved way outside of the will of God and my parents. I remember the deep feeling of guilt and shame as I came to grips with the fact that I had let down not only my parents but more importantly God. Thank God for grace!
September 27, 1987, another day I remember vividly even though I probably should not remember anything about it. While sitting in my car in front of a pay phone, after a night of practicing my addiction feeling lost, defeated, tired and quite frankly scared, I had my “come to Jesus moment”. I cried out to him that I could not do this any longer. My life was unmanageable and not sustainable the way that I was living. I needed him! After several hours of crying, negotiating, arguing and finally, listening to Him I was moved to make a call. I contacted a local facility that specialized in recovery from addiction. I remember telling the intake counselor on the phone, “I’m not sure if I need to be there or not but I am getting ready to drive myself there”. He begged me not to drive but I was insistent, “it is something I need to do”. Even after a long night of self-medicating my eyes were now wide open and my mind was sober and as crystal clear as ever. The facility was only about a twenty minute drive away but it was truly a supernatural twenty minutes. I remember hearing the Lord say to me, not out loud but right down in my heart, “You will never again have a desire for drugs or alcohol”. I was delivered! Today as I write this article, by the grace and mercy of God, nearly 28 years later, I have never once had that desire. Praise God for Deliverance!
Day 27 of rehab, the day before I was to leave, they held the usual graduation ceremony and we were encouraged to invite friends and family that might be of support…of course my parents were invited. When guest were invited to share thoughts or words of encouragement, my usually quiet father rose up to speak his most memorable words ever to me.
My father said, “Steve is a builder, he has always enjoyed building things and I hope he will return to building again, one day.” Those simple words still resonate in my ears to this day. Sage advice delivered as a public show of support from a father to a son he truly loved regardless of my previous failures. Thank God for Forgiving parents!
A few years later after leaving the music business and after a couple other jobs, I took a full time job with a local mid-size General Contracting company as a commercial carpenter. Finally, once again “Steve is a builder”. Within months I was quickly promoted to superintendent, then general superintendent, then project manager and later vice president. The rise up the ladder was quick and frankly quite effortless. I was even surprised at times by the progress. In 2012, I was contacted by a gentleman I had become friendly with over the years. He was also a General Contractor and I had done work with him previously as a subcontractor. He wanted to know if I might be interested in taking over his company, in a few years when he retired. His 70 year old company had a long storied history, a solid reputation and was widely respected in the industry. It didn’t occur to me at the time, in fact it wasn’t until several months after I accepted a Vice President position with the new company and we were discussing the company history that it dawned on me. When it did, I was in total awe of the power of God! You see, even more amazing than the opportunity to become owner of such legendary local company was the fact that this was the very company with the eight foot tall chain link fence and the yard full of construction equipment that I had been so intrigued by on the bus ride to school and wished that I could work there. Thank God for his plan!
I believe God showed me, through the wonder of a young boys eyes a plan for my life, I had a different plan. After several unsuccessful years of trying to work my plan and live a life outside of his will, God reminded me again as young adult through the public words of a silently strong and loving father. Today, while striving to live in obedience and by the grace of God, I am truly blessed to watch the unfolding of Gods plan for my life. I have been blessed to serve as builder for many great business owners and pastors, building lifelong relationships and sharing the good news about Gods plan and today I am still in awe of the miracles that continue to happen all around me.