Philippians 3:12-13 - "Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead."
On the road leading south from the city of Rome there is a magnificent church called St. Paul’s outside the Walls. The church was built where tradition teaches that Paul was put to death. In the green courtyard there is a statue of Paul holding a sword. I think Paul’s life has as much to teach us about faith as his written words do. This man, with a very dramatic and personal call story, spends the rest of his life often not knowing what comes next. We live in a world of “money back guarantees” and “the customer is always right” mentalities. So we have a cultural expectation that the world needs to bend and accommodate to our desires. But Christian faith requires a counter-cultural expectation that we are to use our freedom and autonomy for the hidden purposes of God. A life of faith is beginning a journey without a detailed itinerary or destination.
Notice one of the compelling features of Paul. He is a man of action. He is not passive; he is active. Paul never sat back and waited for God to give him detailed instructions. No, God almost always seemed to interrupt Paul on a journey. Paul was on the road to Damascus to persecute the people of the Way when the Light hit him. He had his mind made up to go to Asia when God said, "Whoa," and then Macedonia opened up. Lydia was out there looking for God, a God seeker, a God fearer, when Paul spoke to her. Maybe we need to get up and start doing what we think God desires now and trust that God may redirect us as the Kingdom requires. Maybe God never gives us more directions and more information than we need, and until we have started moving in one direction, there is no need for God to correct us or to tell us to change direction. As a congregation we are never exactly sure which ministries to do, when to do them, nor how they will work. Part of being a faithful community is to move in faith and to be alert to the gentle redirection of God’s spirit. We are called to be faithful not perfect. We are called to take risks not to play it safe. Our deepest faith is required in the waters of innovation, uncertainty, and ambiguity.
Faithful One, Lead. Direct. And redirect our lives that our journey of faith will bear fruit in your Kingdom. Amen
Posted on Wed, September 28, 2016
by Micah James