Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Checking Box #3
In the tradition I grew up in, church people really liked keeping track of certain stuff. At the end of a church service, or revival meeting or youth camp, someone would get up at the end with a handful of cards and read the "results." The Big 3 were always the same. They were: 1. # saved. 2. # of rededications of faith. 3. # of surrenduring to the call of the ministry. I just realized that in my 43 years, I never checked box #3. I checked box #1 when I was 17, and checked box #2 countless times before that, thinking I had checked box #1, but the elusive box #3 never got a mark by my golf pencil. When I decided to go to seminary after college, it just made good sense. It was something I wanted to do. I wanted to work with university students. I didn't go kicking and screaming. Surrender never entered my mind. No need to check box #3. I could not relate to my friends who said God was calling them to surrender to the ministry. "Surrender? It sounds like you're going to spend the rest of your life doing something you hate." "Yes, isn't it great?" I just never got it. Some dude asked me if I've ever read Desiring God. I would say that the ideas in that book have shaped my thinking as much as any. That's why surrender never made sense to me, until I realized we are surrendering in order gain joy. Here's the surrender part of box #3 that I never expected to have to deal with 1. Believing you have been gifted to create something new, but your leaders don't understand it. 2. Having to choose between what you think has been God's leading or continuing in a path that your leaders understand. 3. Facing the rejection of your leaders, despite your plea for their blessing. 4. Being told, "We don't know what to do with you." 5. Cutting yourself off from the community you loved and served in order to try and do the right thing. 6. Wondering if anyone else believes in what you're doing. 7. Feeling desperately alone. Who knew checking box # 3 would be so complicated?