"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer-to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ‘Well done.’” It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a ‘doormat’ under other people’s feet..." –Oswald Chambers

Maintaining a proper perspective-how do you do that? The day in and day out of life, the mundane…how do you look past that?
Our perspective wants to tell us we failed at what we set out to do three years ago. Some would agree. We were too focused on the day to day, not the big picture. But someone, somewhere needs to be the “details” guy. Visionaries need administrators or they become out of touch with reality. God is all about the details too. That is why He gives us different gifts, abilities and callings. Our perspective is usually not big enough or maybe even focused on the right thing. We were to be focused on the day to day, because someone had to be, that was our calling. But we didn’t have the perspective to see everything going on around us that wasn’t part of the day to day.
We didn’t have the perspective to see what eternal changes were going and are going to be made for listening and responding to the call we were given, the call that some would tell us we “did not really hear God correctly” (from their perspective).

The BIG perspective-that God has this master plan, and it is the salvation of the lost, and we are just these bit players in the peripheral that He brings in and out uses at the appointed times and in the appointed ways. We should be happy to be used, when we are used, how we are used. So hard-looking for a BIG perspective through a microscope.

I have always been a behind the scenes type of person. My giftings are in service and administration, not being the upfront person. Now, we’ve had the opportunity to be the “face” of certain things (our project, missions in the church, a voice of missionary struggles…). Did I enjoy it? Not sure how to answer it.
In a way, yes. I enjoyed the confidence it brought that we didn’t feel we had before. It strengthened our faith as we were encouraged by fellow believers and how God continually provided, just to name a few.

Now, it seems our “face” time was really just the behind-the-scenes/laying-the-groundwork time yet again. Things that no one else may ever know about and certainly groundwork for many things to come.

So I should be happy, right? At least satisfied to have fulfilled my role? Yet, there is a part of me that still desires the encouragement, the gratitude, okay-at least the acknowledgment that we played a part. Maybe a continued acknowledgment. Yet it was in the past, so why do I still want it?

Pride? To build up my shattered self-confidence? Justification? To ease the pain of being wronged? To prove my reality was just that, reality?

I want the hard and very, very painful part of our time and work to be appreciated. There are times it still feels painful in ways seemingly innumerable. The guinea pig that gave their all (hearts, pocketbooks, belief, trust)…and what happens to them when their time is done? We ask them to take their house apart before they leave (so maybe people will ever forget they were there?)…

{And for the record, as much as it may have “felt good” at the time, we did not do anything to the house. We know that would have been poor stewardship of not only our time and resources, but most certainly those of our supporters}

Does it ever get hard for you to pretend we weren’t there?

Humility. I see how hard it is now in a way I haven’t had to before. I see why so many are out there to leave something tangible as their “legacy”, something BIG. And how they can’t stand the thought of someone messing up what their big plans are, even if they are only trying to help.

I was happy being a behind the scenes person before-helping in the kitchen, on the computer, and especially behind Brian. I have always wanted and desired him to have more-more faith, a deeper relationship with Christ, acknowledgment for his hard work…always wanted more for him than myself even.

Did I want it for God though? I gave/give God all the props, because it was ONLY by HIS doing, but maybe there became a part of me that wanted, still wants a part for Brian (and me) too…

Reputation. It’s about reputation and having to surrender your reputation for God. On the long eight hour drive to Victoria Falls we listened to some recordings by Otto Keating who was a very remote missionary. That was one of the things I clearly remember him talking about and we discussed at length. Our reputation was about obeying the “call to obedience,” and it was on this project. Especially in our own church and family, and even for the project’s supporting family, who really did become our family. And it is not going to be what we were led to believe, and what we led many others to believe. We had our own expectations and desires tagged on to it as well.

No one can ever compare their own experiences to anyone else’s. So why do we try? Why do we still want justification? Why does it still bother us when we hear the peaches and cream only? How do you forget what the reality behind the scenes is and just be happy that the claim to “all is well” is being rung? How do you forget the questions that are still unanswered? Will it ever stop bothering us that our friends are being misled? Should it still? Continually you just have to give it to God and say it’s not mine anymore. But so, so hard to not snatch it back when you hear something that triggers you back to the reality YOU knew...
Considering our investment, financially and otherwise, do we have a “right”, a “responsibility” to be sure our gifts (our time, our finances, our service) to the Lord (they are never really to any one group or church or other non-profit) are used wisely? Responsibly? Or do we just say it is all God’s in the first place... I’d like to add “and He will use it as He sees fit”, but I don't personally believer that He’s being allowed to, that the stewardship just isn’t there. What is your responsibility in it? Do you have any? Some day we will all have to answer to God, and I know He is gonna be a heckuva lot tougher than I would or could ever be. I want to be sure that I can stand with my conscience clean.

But God still CAN and WILL accomplish His purposes. Can we ever really stop God from accomplishing what He has for us-the good He has for us? (And believe me-I don’t mean good, like, happy-happy good-good. I mean like, our ETERNAL good) We are being pulled in and out of His BIG will for the salvation of souls across the world, sometimes in this way, sometimes in that. God is WAY BIGGER than any one man (or woman). Who are we to somehow think our mark on the world is more important than anyone else’s? That we need to leave a legacy at all? If it’s all about God’s glory, what good are the big numbers, the big accomplishments to me? Why are you or I keeping track? When it comes to souls, one is just as important to God as 600 or a 1000 or...

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