My journey over the last few weeks has been similar to digging a well (metaphorically). Sometimes, things can nag us and compel us to search further. Perhaps to discover something new or rediscover something lost. I find this usually happens in terms of understanding me in light of God. Sometimes, I exercise foolishness and pride and consider God in light of me. Anytime, I realize I am there I need a quick reorientation. My view is skewed if I am the largest in my eyes. I think Jesus consistently modeled the point of seeing yourself in light of God, His Father – Our Father.
My big question has been, “Where do my efforts end and His grace begin?” I seem to ponder questions that don’t have neat and clean answers. When I tried to answer the question with ‘me’ being at the center the answer was always shallow and incomplete. However, when I shifted my perspective and saw ‘me’ in light of God things became more clear. I’ve found that how God gives graces or gifts is solely up to Him. It may not have the appearance of fair, however what is ‘fair’ is what we decide to do with what we’ve been given. If we have been given 1, 2, or 5 ‘talents’ we are responsible for how we deliver them. His grace kicks in as He helps us discover our talents and how to use them. It’s a partnership. Challenges arise along the way as His enemies are being made subject to him and us (we are in him). In the midst of the huge success and/or crushing failure the gifts He’s given us and His gracious presence prevail. I think this attitude and reality is crucial to understand. We need to remember and engage with Him. He does with us. We trust Him for His leadership, care and concern. His kindness towards us. He trusts us to take risk, work and build His Kingdom through our efforts and faith. We trust Him that there is nothing we can do to fix our sin issue and He delivers through his work on the cross and resurrection fulfilling the deepest longing in our souls.
I’ve been striving to become comfortable with the idea of everything we do is in and for His Kingdom. His Kingdom building isn’t merely an event on a weekend or weeknight but rather all encompassing. Is it possible that the Kingdom, the eternal Kingdom is much more practical than ‘professional’ clergy make it? If the Kingdom is complex we need experts. If it’s simple we need laborers. Lastly, Jesus’ view was much longer than most leaders. He consistently drilled down to a handful of people. His model wasn’t to build larger and larger crowds but closer and closer relationships. At the launch of the ‘Church’ Jesus entrusted the mission to His friends not the ‘conference organizer’ or ‘event coordinator’. True growth is like the supermarket: you can get shiny fruit with artificial agents and it costs less and is mass produced (large profit); or you can buy organic…it’s a little smaller, fewer in quantity and it costs more.
Which is healthier?