Back on the Journey

Somewhere during the last year. I quit writing. I shifted my prayer life. I decided I needed to read the whole Bible from cover to cover. I have read the whole text a couple of times, but felt a need to do it again. That is not for me. I read the text, got things out of it. However, I am not an Interstate traveler, sometimes I like to poke around a bit, see what else is off the road. So, my spiritual formation seemed to suffer. I returned back to Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. It is an old stand by that I have been using for 15 years. It is quaint, outdated, and not hip. It is a compass, when I am lost I return to it to reorient myself. For me that is extremely useful, and I appreciate that.
Isaiah 49:3-4 (NRSV)
3 And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the LORD,
and my reward with my God.”
I think some of the problems of my own spiritual journey is the desire to be effective primarily, successful secondarily. There is a measure that churches have. Baptisms, budgets, and butts in seats. The 3B’s. They are important, because pastors can be real lazy or misguided at times.
But, my journey as a pastor is about developing a relationship with Jesus. If I as a pastor work on my relationship with Jesus then my work becomes more doable. Not easier, but doable. When I work to succeed or be more effective, none of which are bad, but when I say if I measure my faithfulness by success then I fail to meet Jesus. Then God becomes controlled. That does not work. I have worked at wanting to be more useful, but maybe the life of faith is deeper than that…to be bound to Jesus in such a ‘warm’ way that I do not wish to go anywhere else.
This morning I came in from my run, showered still very chilly. I crawled back into bed to warm up. Prayers could wait a bit. I nodded back to sleep and woke to my wife warming my frigid body through snuggling. I chose not leave the bed but to rest in the peace and the warmth of the morning with my wife. To be bound to God in such a way that I never wish to stray nor wish to disappoint. To be loved and to love Christ is the goal. I have heard that a million times, but I finally getting to believe it. It is not about changing the world, but loving the savior. In the cold dark days of my spiritual walk, I long to find that place with the one who loves me best of all.

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