Have you ever had a moment when you suddenly realize that two things you hold dear, two seemingly opposing thoughts or dreams, come together and actually compliment each other? I had a moment like that recently and it was pretty earth shaking. How did it ever take me so long to see this? Surely the hints have been there for ages.
For me these two passions were worship and justice or compassion for the poor. I felt the call towards both, yet saw them as completely separate things.
Then, I was reading "Beyond Cheap Grace" by Eldin Villafane. In the third essay of the book, titled "Amos, Intrepid Leader for Justice: Three Indispensable Qualities of a Minister of the Word of God" he says this:
"Throughout Scripture we can find important truths about worship that relate authentic worship to our behavior toward the poor and oppressed."
"There is a seamless relationship between ethical behavior and true worship, between justice and piety. Who we are and how we behave are intimately related in our giving worth to our God."
Of course! I think I knew this, but never actually realized it and so continued on with a separated mindset about my calling and my passions. How liberating and validating and exciting to realize (finally) that these two things I hold dear go hand in hand!
I was equally moved, in a slightly different way, by Heidi Baker's book "Compelled by Love." This is a collection of stories and thoughts anchored on the Beatitudes. I was consistently challenged by Heidi's words. I find that often when reading or thinking about things like serving out of love I find myself looking into the distant future when I will be in ministry and all I do will flow effortlessly out of my love for God and those around me. And the whole world will be faintly tinted pink and we will dance in fields of flowers forever.
But this time I was really challenged practically by her words about my life, now. Where I am at this moment. I am very sad to say that I am altogether not very good at showing love to those around me. Especially when I find myself confronted by needy people (friends and family members no less!) when I am tired from work and selfishly want to be left alone to read or watch tv.
The question I'm asking myself (not for the first time either!) is how exactly do I think I'm going to get to dance in those pink-tinted fields of flowers, loving everyone around me effortlessly (!) if I don't learn to love where I am, even when (especially when) it's hard?
Oh, the other thing I was challenged on by Heidi is trusting God. Trusting that, as he promised, he will provide for me and that there is always enough in his kingdom. As Heidi said:
"All that Jesus died for is waiting for you to take. We are called to live in the fullness of what each precious drop of blood purchased. Start feasting now."
So, that's a look into what I'm working through. What my inner life is looking like these days.