February 15, 2003
no question III
Well, I still haven't found the time to sit down and think about the great comments on No Question II, which was really just a front for No Question. And to be honest I don't think it's going to happen today either.
It's been a busy week. I'm trying to tie up my loose ends at work before my last day (Friday February 21), and to complicate matters further I'm off to Peru tomorrow for 3 days. We're in the final negotiations on a major corporate donation, and it calls for some face to face time with the donor - a Canadian firm operating in Peru.
Any other time I'd be all over this. I love to travel. I was in Peru in September and it was a very profound experience for me. It's an incredible country. The picture-book beauty of the Andes, where we'll be on Monday, countered with the unbelievable dirt, grime, noise and depression of Lima. But this is my last week at World Vision. And on top of that we're trying to get this move to Vancouver put together quickly. Looks like I'm dumping a lot of the work onto Sue (again). She's incredible.
Anyway... the question. I believe we are all called to give it all up. Or, more to the point, I believe Jesus would take us if we volunteered. Maybe, while we're sitting here waiting for "the call", He's waiting for us to offer first. I don't doubt that some feel a very strong, specific call. We've experienced that ourselves. But I also think that as we die a little more to ourselves, and offer a little more to God, He will take it and use it. I can't see Him say, "No, really... that's enough. You stay in your comfortable life and I'll call someone else to do this particular job."
Can't see it.
I'll be "offline" for a couple of days while I'm away. Talk among yourselves until I get back.
Posted by mike at February 15, 2003 05:36 PM
Daggone it! You've gone and added yet another layer to this onion. I originally linked to that post because I believed it was speaking to me about a particular call in my life. I've lived for two or more years, not hearing anything else specific from God about the call, believing that since I hadn't heard anything, I must be in some sort of "preparation" phase. Now to think that I might be just clinging to the familiar like a drowning person clings to an exposed branch, afraid to reach out to the hand of the rescuer... Man, that gives me pause. Lord, help me to trust you enough to give up all for You, knowing that You will give back to my stewardship that which I need to do the work You have called me to...
God bless you in your trip to Peru. May it be fruitful for the Kingdom.
But the other thing is that God calls different people to different places. He may call some to a "comfortable life" - not necessarily because He wants us to have that lifestyle, but more because of the other lives we'll meet.
If you think about it, the rich and famous hobnob with the rich and famous; IT types ("geeks"?) typically converse among themselves; CEOs and MDs hang out together at the same golf courses. We need Christians in every walk of life, every occupation - just as we need to be a shining light wherever God has placed us.
I remember reading Isobel Kuhn on a friend of hers who really wanted to go to the mission field, but God closed the door. Can't remember what happened - but sometimes, I do believe we may say to God, "Take it all," and then He gives it back to us and says, "Now that you hold these things loosely, stay here and use them for Me."
The catch is that we have to offer them, not knowing if God will say that to us!
Mike: The great thing is that the Saviour has been with you in the past, including the bike accident, your past investment career, and your World Vision service. These are very significant days of change, challenge and rapid adjustment for you and Sue but the One who said "Go....make disciples ...and I will be with you" has not modified the plan. His Plan (and the Power to achieve the plan)remains unchanged.
Our love and prayers to you both. Dad.
OK - This may take a few comments while I continue to process this one over the next few days. First of all - I agree with some of what Irene has said in her comment. God calls different people to different places. All Christians can't be in the "mission field" or in "organized ministry". BUT - wherever we are we have to be "in ministry". Maybe that is part of the problem - too many aren't. (Maybe that is part of the comfort issue.)
Correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, but aren't you wanting to say or thinking deep down that one of the greatest problems is the comfort we have in our comfort? We are blessed thinking we deserve it because we work hard - or maybe we don't even realize we are blessed. So it's more about ignoring God and ministry and ignoring being a humble servant in our comfort.
If we could really give our lives to God in our daily life - we would have our eyes opened to what we need to "survive" what we need to provide for our families. We would ask ourselves if we really are Christ-followers or just "church goers". We would make wise decisions about how we spend our money etc. I sometimes feel when I am reading your stuff that you are upset with wealth. Not sure. Not being one who has ever had wealth to speak of (although in comparison to most of the world we are truly wealthy) - I wonder. I know people who have "great wealth" in my eyes. They keep amassing more and don't seem to be satisfied. OR - they give their token gift to God financially that doesn't even begin to "hurt". Yes - I believe that until they give up stuff God won't truly bless them. But, there are others who have what is comfortable and give and God is blessing them where they are, in what they are doing etc. Man - I think I'm talking in circles. (What is the definition of comfort - in whose eyes? It certainly would be different definition to someone in poverty, someone in the suburbs, someone in the massive home. How should it be defined???)
Bottom line - what are we talking about when we say "give up all"? Are we talking wealth and material things? Are we talking about careers we have worked hard to be good at? Doesn't God make us good at things to be Christians in our field. Or are you saying that too many Christians who would say yes to that aren't doing it - because that's what I think. That's where I think people are too comfortable. God calls them to be a "dentist" - they do it - they make money - it must be good - because God is blessing them yada yada. BUT - they become self dependent and forget about WHO blessed them - what does He get out of it? I really think that there are too many Christians who use the excuse that God has put them or called them to their "field" - they are "good people" at work - do their service at church etc. They think that God is happy with them - afterall they go to church, they give money, they do stuff at church - how sad, how shallow - how misinformed.
Maybe we should be saying - not what are we giving up, but what are we doing for God at all???
I speak as someone at a crossroads - I want to go/ to do / to be all He wants. But what is it that I have to give up?? Not money - we don't have that much! But maybe it is just will and fear and lack of trust and time, selfishness, etc. Also - you raise another point about offering - instead of waiting for him to tell us. I think some people do offer, but so many of us struggle with discering His voice. (Any suggestions on that one?)
Enough for this one - I may add more later after I give it more thought.
Hope Peru was amazing and that you saw God at work in that country.
Thanks for stirring the heart and mind.
Hola! Greetings from Lima. Just back from the airport - a day up in the Andes. Take a look at the link I had in the post - I was standing there staring at that mountain!! Itīs supposed to be the rainy season, but there wasnīt a cloud in the sky (or sun screen on my face. Ouch!)
Anyway, Cathie is sensing my frustration. I think itīs about comfort. Take a look at the Ghandi quote from a couple of posts back. Thatīs what Iīm talking about.
What are we doing with the greatest story ever told, a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe, etc.??
Whatever the answer is, I know in my case it ainīt enough.
Just you rock. That is all.
JJ.s right - you do rock! You inspire and we're all going to miss you more than you will ever know. I think its cool that you have listened to God calling you - and your doing it.
Keep the faith - we love you both
Heather - donīt use the Heath handle, in case people confuse you with "Darrenīs" Heath!!
30 degrees and humid in Lima. I hear itīs snowing back home?
Thatīs a shame.
I can put my foot in my mouth occassionally and say dumb things, but that Heath has got it way over me on offensive!!!! That Heath is not me....
Glad to hear you are in 30 degree weather - did i mention we had to shovel again last night?? Seriously - safe travels home (your home for the next three weeks anyway).xxoxo
I knew I would be coming back with something else. After I wrote my comment I read Chambers - Feb. 16th - go and read it!!!! I love that man - and I have been reading him off and on for 20 years. Here's a quick excerpt - he says it way better than I could ever hope to.
"The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that life and power comes after we 'get up and get going'. God does not give us overcoming life - He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says "Arise from the dead..." we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up...........If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life."
Maybe more people need to get up - STAND UP - and GET GOING!!! He does give us life AS we overcome.
P.S. Peru sounds amazing - you are certainly catching a glimpse of God.
Does God really call us to give up THINGS? Is he interested in our things? Paul said, "the LOVE of money is a root of evil." Jesus didn't focus on the action of adultery. He said don't even think a lustful thought. He wasn't as concerned about the action of murder as he was about anger in the heart. Paul said "if I give all I possess to the poor and have not love...." So what!
It's our heart that matters (and in the cases of adultery and murder, the actions matter too). If the heart is wrong it doesn't matter what our action is. Yes, I'm sickened by how many times I've heard that to excuse selfish behaviour and I'm first in line at the confessional. But I also know that I've "sacrificed" things or focused on actions "for God" because it was the easy way to avoid dying to self.
I'm called to be a steward. That means everything I am, have and touch is his not mine. He's the owner; I'm the caretaker. (Len Sweet says God is the giver; we are the receivers, not the givers.) Sometimes to be a good steward (e.g. to deal with my love of money) requires that I give up stuff. But, I'm not giving my stuff to God; I'm handing over stuff that he already owns.
Does that make sense?
Henri Nouwen wrote in his book "in the name of Jesus"
The Christian leader of the future must be radically poor, journeying with nothing except a staff- "no bread, no haversack, no money, no spare tunic: (Mk. 6:8) what is good about being poor? Nothing, except that it offers us the possibility of giving leadership by allowing ourselves to be led.
I think it's important for us to think objectively that it's ok to be poor (it's not crazy, or sinister, or the end of the world)- often we think of it as in when disaster strikes, or an unfortunate situation occurs - however, we can choose to be poor, and yes, it is against our culture, society, and often times our thought patterns. It's a power thing. A release thing. If we decide to be poor Abba Henri gently acknowledges that we have let go of our own controls and opened up a greater possibility for external influence... perhaps even divine influence.
If there is any hope for the Church in the future, it will be hope for a poor Church in which its leaders are willing to be led. - Henri Nouwen
Funny you should quote Henri Nouwen. I read something from his Daily Dose this morning that struck me (as always), but particularly in this...
"A spiritual life is a life in which our security is based not in any created things, good as they may be, but in God, who is everlasting love. We probably will never be completely free from our attachment to the temporal world, but if we want to live in that world in a truly free way, we'd better not belong to it."
"You cannot be the slave both of God and money."
I was struck by this, this morning after reading Mike's blog, and again for myself I feel a little confused it. I want/try to be a slave for Him, but I wonder how long I can do this without working (in a paying job). I trust He will provide if I am where He wants me to be. I'm thinking out loud now...does that make any sense?
Lynne - you make total sense!!! We have been in a position this year of that total trust and I can't begin to tell you the number of blessings we have received. I hate to admit to people my fear - but it was real. However the step of faith - when we actually did it - well, it blows me away to see what He has done when we are where He wants us to be. He DOES provide.
There is no great genius without some touch of madness.