“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge him,
and he will make your path straight.”
This is a classic and a long time favorite verse of mine. Often do I trust God based on the depth of my understanding. Pitiful. Unwise.
I’m not that smart to start with. God is brilliant, mystifying, stupefying. How dare I reduce him and his ways to my brain power. Such in-the-box thinking is a great way to produce worry. Just rely on what you can understand and watch the anxiety roll in like waves.
Hobo theologians must sometimes release the mind and let “Jesus take the wheel.” (Yes, I just quoted that.)
We (my wife and I) recently shared a salvation moment with one our students. I was struck by the beauty and commonplace of the moment.
At that moment, heaven was opening up; angels were rejoicing. God was watching. An eternal soul was transferred from death to life, from the domain of darkness into marvelous light. Amazing.
At that same moment, as we prayed, my daughter asked in a whisper if I would take the wrapper off her popsicle…a very urgent request indeed. My son cooed upstairs. My dog kept licking my hand and nosing my leg for attention.
“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
Left to myself, it wouldn’t look good. There is not much in me that is naturally disposed to the work of God. I’m selfish. I’m not real magnetic. I’m a bit moody. I have bad days. As for evangelism, I can be pretty introverted. But this verse gives me great hope. It gives me great joy. If I follow Jesus, he can make me into what I need to be. Fewww!
Thank you, God.
For so long, I’ve thought of successful ministry as some magical douse certain people receive, some special x-factor certain people possess. Or perhaps, ministry hinges on strategy and technique. But this verse starts me somewhere else.
This verse starts with bumbling fishermen in some hick town. The fact that Jesus says he will make them fishers of men tells me everything I need to know. It tells me they are decidedly not fishers of men. They’re just fishermen. It tells me the key to ministry isn’t in where you start but where you go, and where you go is determined by who you follow. And now we’re back…
If I follow Jesus, he can make me into his worker, and that’s good news for a guy like me. Amen.
I am loving the Bible on iPod. I think years ago I would have considered that cheating. Real Bible readers have dog-eared Bibles and leather journals and hand-turned coffee mugs from Nor Cal…or so I thought. But life is far too kinetic for that always.
For instance, a few weeks ago I was standing at the crossroads of sickness and going to church. Because I was sick, I slept in. Because I was headed to church, I was scrambling around trying to get ready. But while I was getting ready, I listened to the Bible reading for the day. I really listened to it, and I really enjoyed it. But I never slowed down. There was no time. And that’s life. Call it what you will, but that is what faithfulness looked like that day. That’s what real spirituality was.
I am not, however, advocating some kind of “God-to-go” spirituality. I would be sorely remiss if all I ever did was pursue God on the go. I must have times of quiet, times of coffee and solitude. I must journal and chew on words. I must spend time on my knees praying to God and praying over his word. In fact, I would argue silence and meditative solitude are some of the greatest spiritual disciplines our culture needs. But let’s not be spiritual snobs.
As a husband, a father of two little ones, and a pastor, I can say I am thankful for the words of Deuteronomy 6:9 “You shall write [God’s commandments] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Now there’s a down-to-earth spirituality! Scriptures on my garage door? I like it. I might actually see those.
Why did the picture of deep piety and sincere spirituality become a quiet monk in robes?