( Sunday, May 06, 2007 )

Call For Clarity

Tonight I got a chance to talk on the phone with a friend from Bible College who I haven't talked to in a while. He's one of those guys who is about as solid in his faith as a leftover Thanksgiving turkey is hard after sitting on the counter for a week (or something like that). I've always had a great deal of respect for him because I could always tell he had a very profound and sincere faith in God. And it wasn't just something he could pretend to have, either. His life reflected it. His personality reflected it. The way he handled himself in situations, the way he talked, the way he behaved was the real evidence of his relationship with Jesus. And I think that always gave me a sense of comfort. For all my cynicism towards the church and other Christians at times, my friend always managed to cut through that with me, whether he knew it or not.

Anyway, in our conversation tonight he talked a bit about the different things he's been doing in ministry, and it all came back to me, all that respect I'd had for him in Bible College. It amazed me how little he'd changed since graduating. It's not rare for people to take a dive after leaving the relative ease and comfort of the spiritual-steroid injected community that is Bible College. (I'm not in the group of people who think that kind of community is a bad thing either -- just for the record. Actually, I think the sense of community I felt at Bible College, and the total immersion in all things God, was one of my absolute favourite things about it--maybe more so in hindsight than while I was there. Since being away from it, I do miss it.) But my friend somehow left that place and remained exactly who he'd always been, a genuine God-lover.

At the end of the conversation we prayed for each other, and I think that single act jump-started something inside of me, something I'd let wilt and die a long time ago. I can't even remember the last time I've prayed with someone. But there is something indescribable about it. It's something that maybe you're not always aware of when you spend so much time doing it, as can be the case with anyone who's spent enough time in church/Bible College/a monastery. But after having been away from it for so long, it felt like someone was breathing air back into my lungs. I felt like this huge cloud around me lifted and dissipated. It was a good feeling.

Talking to him also made me remember things I'd forgotten about myself, characteristics and gifts that God gave me, that I may have used at one point in my life but haven't gone near or exercised in a really long time. And not just gifts, but basic qualities of Jesus that I'm supposed to live out every day, hour, minute, and second. With that came a sense of sadness, but also a challenge to start doing what I was created to do. Never mind vocations and careers and "callings" -- what about the basic, fundamental calling of every Christian? I think I get too caught up in some kind of grand scheme of things and ignore the small but fundamental details of living right now, wherever I am, doing whatever I'm doing. I think those details are the same ones Paul told Timothy to chase after:

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
(1 Timothy 6:11-12)

That's the kind of life I want to live. I think I'd forgotten that at times. Maybe I'd forgotten it completely. But that's the direction I want my life to go, regardless of job title or yearly income. I want my life to be about the pursuit of God, about being "the aroma of Christ" (2 Cor. 2:15), about doing the unknown and experiencing the unseen -- and really, being what I believe.

Thanks for the smack upside the head, Ben.


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