I am struck by how much time and how many words I have wasted here on this blog. It has been at least three months since I have been here, but looking at it now all I see is political pointlessness and empty words about how we use Facebook too much.
Three months of working in full-time, draining, fulfilling ministry like the camp setting I was in has the tendency to reveal a lot of the weak points in your personal life. The things that really are important come to the forefront as every minute of your day is demanded of you for one task or another; the weak stuff, the pointless selfish stuff gets a backseat because there is no time.
Already in the past 48 hours since leaving the island I have spent more time on my laptop and on Facebook than I have all summer combined. Granted, I am on vacation for the week, but is there ever time for a vacation from doing what God has called us to?
I’m really sick of wasting my time, my money, my concerns on things that ultimately will not matter. Time is short and there is much work to do. I have spent the better portion of the past two years wandering around hording money and spending it on stuff, and not enough time on the real mission at hand.
One of the things we did during staff training week was develop a personal mission statement which we will hold to to guide how we interact, the choices we make, and the things we do in order to point all to Christ. I was skeptical at first (as I tended to be back then) that something like a “missions statement” would ever amount to anything. But even now, ten weeks later, I find myself going back to that statement I developed as my compass for how I want to live my life. We never really shared our mission statements with everyone, but I am serious about all of this – about living it out, no holds barred, ridiciulous, intense faith – and so I have no fear of sharing with people. If your walk, your faith, your desire is only your own and never shared, then you will burn for a while but never spread.
My mission is to glorify God by using my head, hands, and heart to their fullest extent to serve Him and others in diligence and love, and to find satisfaction and peace in Christ alone.
Something about having it in writing, memorized and believed, is challenging. My summer ministry is over but my service to and for Christ is only beginning. I have been reading a book that I heard referenced so many times this summer I finally decided I needed to pick it up and read it. Its called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I’m serious when I say that half of the speakers this summer referenced it or were reading it. Its a good read. But it will hit you in the face like a ton of bricks.
One of the challenges that Chan lays out is that we need to start taking Jesus seriously. We have the tendency to boil down His message to principles and end up ignoring what He actually said. When He said, “Sell your possessions and give to the needy” (Like 12) that doesn’t mean “Give 10% every Sunday.” That means sell your possessions and give to the poor. When He says “Take up your cross and follow Me” he doesn’t mean you stop cussing and drinking because thats what Christ wants from us. That means you give up your rights to yourself unto the point of death. We live far too easily, far too lukewarm for what Christ really demanded of us.
I will not be lukewarm. I will not live easily. I will live Christ.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I might gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes fromt he law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead.”
Think about that statement. Turn off your Christianeze tendency to boil everything down to principles and sayings. Think about the words – literal, raw, honest. I count everything (my car, my job, my family, my prestige, my American dream, my safety – thats all part of “everything”) as loss. That I may share in his sufferings. Becoming like him in his death. There is no middle ground.