Where have I been?
I have been working hard to make sure our church kids get to camp and back, and that has resulted in major loss of sleep, but hey, Iâ€™m younger than my wife, so I can handle it Iâ€™m sure.
Iâ€™ve been walking through some grief things with the loss of a friend and coworker. Thatâ€™s taken up some space in my head and heart.
Iâ€™ve been working like a crazy man to get ready for my last summer intensive at North Park Seminary in Chicago. This will be my last instalment of a three year commitment towards a Certificate in Spiritual Direction Iâ€™ve been working on. And if it doesnâ€™t kill me first, it will be an awesome thing to have experienced and grown through. This Saturday all the work has to be completed as I fly south for the week of morning, noon, and night class work.
More subtly though, Iâ€™ve been thinking through what it is I do with my life on earth. Itâ€™s not directly related to the previous points, but they do come into play a bit. No, Iâ€™ve more been thinking as I enter my mid forties and have really about 20 years of work time left according to the rules of the land, what is it that I wish to give my life to.
For a long time I have been thinking in one direction. Working in Spiritual Direction areas, developing young pastors and working with them to mature into quality people who can last and be effective through long tough ministries.
But maybe that is still for a place down the road.
The other thing friends have been speaking towards in my life, is working with struggling, broken churches that because of their brokenness have lost their way or become the butt of many community jokes.
Both of these areas speak to me of the future of the church. She needs so desperately to be healthy again and to find her life in Christ. And she needs quality, and dare I say it, Godly pastors who love the church and are ready to give up their own agenda and ready even to die for her.
Itâ€™s no great surprise that both these needs are also not easily transferred through a weekend seminar or a couple of months of presence. Both of them, broken up churches and growing up pastors require presence over an extended period of time. They require someone to commit and be there and love them and not give up on them even through their mistakes and successes.
As for me, yes I have my preferences but the words that I preached yesterday come back to haunt me as I knew they would even as I spoke them. That we as followers of Christ are agents of sacrifice. We are not people of our own agenda. The end of that road leads to being swallowed up by great fish and getting all slimy.
We are people of the cross and that symbol means nothing if it isnâ€™t about sacrifice and love. If we call ourselves disciples of Christ who gave up his own desires for the sake of love, then we too need to walk that road.
So then, I may have my preferences, but in the end I want to lay them down trusting that God knows me better than I know myself.
What better way is there to live a life than to be known by and be obedient to the God of the cosmos?
Now, if I can just do that for these next 20 years, then whatever happens I can consider my life a success.