Saturday, September 11, 2010
No Roll-Over Minutes
After she left I started thinking about that question. It has been a tough week. There has been times this week when I wanted to get on one of those little row boats and just head out to sea. Joy has been gone almost 7 weeks now and does not know exactly when she'll get back. She has been struggling having to handle everything herself in the U.S. on this trip. We have had flooded rooms at the mission due to busted pipes. We had a freezer go out and lost 200 pounds of fish. I had to tell two of the women at the mission they had to move out due to unresolvable issues. We found out a group of people we have been working with for a long time has been lying to us about a lot of important issues. Jaxon and Judah have a nasty case of oozing impetigo. Kevin, our 3 year old with cerebral palsey has something going on and I can't figure out what. He spends the nights writhing in pain and screaming. I can't find the source of the pain or if it is some type of seizure. He is doing that as I type right now. I just have to hold him and pray. I just took this picture as I had to stop typing to hold him.
And I have just been spiritually weak and have lost a lot of mental and emotional battles within.
But with all of that said, I know God is in control. I know He can change all the circumstances in an instance. I know He forgives my failures and helps me to learn from them. I know His grace truly does cover us and give us the desire and power to do His will. We know everything is harder here. The spiritual atmosphere is oppressive and small details become huge obstacles. I know these things and cling to the truths of my faith to get me through. And we get to see victory after victory as we press on.
As I thought about the question of how we get everything done in these working conditions I believe it is due to grace, unwavering belief in what we are doing, a sense of urgency, a focused passion, and the understanding that there are no roll-over minutes. There are 24 hours in a day and we try to use every bit of them to advance God's kingdom because there are no roll-over minutes. You can't save up the time and use it tomorrow. All of it has to be used TODAY because after today all of those moments to invest in someone will be gone.
Now I know some of you are thinking "but if you over do it you will get burned out. Slow and steady wins the race". I believe that FABLE was never meant to be applied to the Christian life or Christian ministry. Let me tell you how I see it. The turtle did not "win" the race, the rabbit "lost" it. The race was the rabbit's to lose. He had all the skills and God given talents to win the race and be victorious. The rabbit was foolish and got distracted by things that don't matter. The victory of the turtle had nothing to do with going slow and steady. If the rabbit had just stayed the course he would have won by a mile. We give the turtle way too much credit. I believe the turtle would have experienced life if he had thrown off his shell and ran full speed like the rabbit. His diligence to stay on course would have not only let him win the race but do it with passion. I don't want to be like the turtle or the rabbit. I think way to many people already are. Either they have the skills and God given talents to really be make a difference in the kingdom but they get distracted by things that don't matter. They get off course and end up chasing after riches, success, comfort, security, acceptance, peacefulness, enjoyment, and the beautiful distractions of American Christianity so they don't run the race at hand.
Then there are the turtles. Why won't they throw off the shell? Because it is a great place to hide. It is secure and comfortable. But against the swiftness of the rabbits they don't have a chance. It would just take one rabbit staying on course and the turtles will never experience victory. Paul says that we are in a race. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." (I Cor. 9:4) "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1) He says throw off EVERYTHING that slows you down. Not just sin. EVERYTHING that slows you down and RUN. Run, run, run, with a passion after whatever it is that God has placed in your heart to do to advance the Kingdom and wreck hell. I pray everyday over my kids that they will be Hell wrecking world changers. It's not easy and it's not safe, but it is all that is going to matter once THE race is finished. Don't let anyone distract you- including friends and family. "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" (Gal. 5:7)
The preachers that joined John Wesley in his work to preach the gospel to the world died at the average age of 35 years old. They were burned out for Christ. But they changed the face of the Christian world with their Methodism. By grace, John himself lived to be 88. But he cried in disappointment at the age of 86 when he could no longer spend 16 hours per day preaching and teaching. There is a group in India that we pray for and help and they work 7 hours per day in a secular job and then spend 7 hours per day in evangelism and discipleship. That's not slow and steady. That's full bore, all out passionate pursuit of the One that all out, full bore, passionately pursued me when I was but a lowly sinner headed to the hell that I deserved. He was not slow and steady. My Jesus was passionate for saving me. My Jesus was reckless in His pursuit of me. How in the world can I be anything less in my pursuit of Him?