They loom, huge and seemingly filled with a message of doom for all they come in contact with: issues like we’ve never seen before…
--Marriage “re-defined”, on a federal level.
--A fistful of issues that threaten (so it seems), to make my church crash and burn.
And the list goes on…
Can you think of a time in your life when there was more at stake for the world, and the church?
For those who love an intellectual battle, a good fight, or what have you, there’s plenty of opportunity.
Yes. There’s lot’s of opportunity for an intellectual sort of religion. One you know with your mind, although it may be hard to connect the heart with it. Or so it seems to me…
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. It’s easy to get intellectual with all these issues, and may seem to even bring some sort of satisfaction or pleasure. (especially when you know you’re right?)
I’ve indulged in this type of religion, drank deeply of it’s bitter water, thinking it was sweet. But I’ve since tasted another type, that’s truly sweet.
You see, the Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s found the bitter spring long ago. Masters of intellectual battles, they would often spend their days battling things, like, how to wash your hands, how far to walk on the Sabbath, and more.
Nicodemus knew there had to be something better. Risked his neck in the dark to find out more about it.
And I think that, even today, we have lessons to learn from him, confused as he was.
I think back on my time with the canvassing team last week. Did they struggle? Yes. But there’s something I’ve seen about active work: it’s not just intellectual. It’s real.
When you have dozens of doors slammed in your face. When no one feels their need. When one or more of your group is discouraged.
You forget about your “good fight”, and your knees hit the floor.
My time in Thailand was similar. It’s hard to fight about who is supposed to preach, when there’s an open wound spurting blood; when someone drops off a child they don’t want anymore; when the fevered man is fighting Malaria as though his life depends on it (it does); when the young woman, only 17, loses her life bringing another one into the world - your intellectual battle is suddenly forgotten.
And, in it’s place, a desperate soul hunger for a blessing from your Father, just to get through the hour, let alone the day.
As we approach the end, (and my hunch is that it is coming soon), I feel personally that I have a lot to learn from this. I’ve never felt drawn closer to God by an afternoon of “religious warfare”, but have definitely been drawn closer to Him by even five minutes of “Spiritual warfare”.
So, my challenge to myself, and to anyone else reading this:
Get out of your comfort zone. Push yourself. Examine your priorities.
To get close to anyone, you must go where they are. Christ is no exception.
I want to work with Him.