Do you ever just feel bloated, too full or just plain sluggish? Or perhaps you have been running so long, doing so much that when you sit down at the end of the day you still feel like you’re moving? Or maybe you find yourself in the middle of a task mumbling to yourself wondering which way to turn next. My wife has learned after 27 years to just let me talk to myself and when I’m ready I’ll talk to her.
I know I’m in one of those spots when I start with the questions - Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? Somehow just getting outside the situation that I find myself in and asking those questions helps me gain some semblance balance and lets me regain my footing. Sometimes I think I’m going crazy and when that happens I just remember a scene from Blue Thunder were Roy Scheider has his eyes closed and is trying to determine when the minute was up because the first step to crazy is the loss of the sense of time.
The reality of the situation is that my muttering mantra of questions is a pretty good place for most of us to start. The temptation with any project, job, or answer to a question is to just jump in and get it done. But these questions cause us to pause and create some creative space with which to breathe and think.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:10, “Each builder must choose with care how to build.”
What are we building in our personal lives, our families, our work, our church? These questions help us engage in developing those answers. Knowing about ourselves helps us take that story to others. Education helps us learn what we know, experience tells us what we don’t know and then the world shows what we don’t know we don’t know. But Jesus reminds us what God wants us to know and that is we have a story to tell. We take that story everywhere with us and it leaks out whether we want it to or not.
We may start by learning about ourselves but we don’t function in a vacuum. We are part of a larger system, in this case the Church. Knowing who we are helps us know where we are and while we may not understand all that happens in this great big world of ours we can come to know our place in the system. My place is Hope Community Church of the Nazarene, a Holiness church in Culpeper Virginia. I’m still learning the story of our church and its members but I’m learning to listen.
But understanding who we are and where we are just get us started. Ministry requires doing as well as being. The problem is few really understand what it takes. Action flows from planning and planning flows from visioning and a sense of mission. We all need to be asking ourselves what we are doing to achieve our goals.
If we truly examined these questions I think what we would find is that we are a people living similar journeys but only loosely connected. Everyone wants to see themselves and the churches they attend grow, but are we willing to invest the time and energy into building the fellowship? Perhaps instead of looking for all the answers we should be asking the right questions.
Prayer: Peter Marshall
May we have:
The mercy of God to forgive us.
The strength of God to make us resolute to do His will.
The grace of God to be kind, tender and affectionate one to another
And the patience of God to believe in the ultimate triumph of thy Kingdom
This we ask in His name in whom all peace resides. Amen.