Friday, August 16, 2002
- Quoi faire? -Once again I’ve been struggling through the issues of job and calling. Maybe it’s these new found grey hairs that give me such a sense of urgency (though I am not yet twenty-five). It's not so much that I don't know what my passions are (music, influencing culture, discipling, & theology) - the problem is one of food, clothing, & shelter. Then I ask myself should these even be considered problems? It is very clear through all of scripture that God promises to provide for our needs [Matt 6.25-34]. However, there is something to be said for using wisdom in making decisions and not setting ourselves up to be a burden to others. However, I am haunted by the parable of the talents [Matt. 25:14-30]. What of my given skills do I use daily in my current work? None. This concerns me.
It seems there is lots of advice on the market for those seeking normal, sensible professions - and this is good! There should be advice and aid for them! However, it seems no one talks about "risky" vocations, except the advice that one should always have a backup plan or that you can always just find a job and use your gifts in your spare time. The problem is that I work all the time. Start with my 40-hour-a-week job, sleeping, and eating – then add on top of this your regular tasks of cleaning (which I rarely do), paying bills (which are always late), doing laundry, attempting to (poorly) minister to those around me, attempting to (poorly) minister to my family, changing the oil in my car (usually it’s 1000 mi over), etc. Then add to this my attempting to practice music, plan out this recording project, apply for copyrights, plan the packaging, organize worship, learn to play those new instruments I have bought/received, maintain my instruments, learn to play my main instruments better, book shows – is it any wonder that I struggle with works righteousness?!?
It’s almost like I am left with two options – either put my primary skills and gifts on the backburner and replace them with more sensible ones or try to balance the two (i.e., work without ceasing.) If I choose the former, which I have attempted, I become a second Asher Lev sketching constantly in my head and I begin to lose my place in the world. If I choose the latter, everything I do seems to be done poorly and all my decisions are enslaved to time - but for now I choose the latter. This means I have had to cancel my participation from everything not related to either my survival or to what I see emerging as the general direction of my calling. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these things anymore – in fact, I am extremely sad to leave them. However, though all these things were good to be involved in, it feels like it is time to move on. I don’t want to be the servant who is rebuked with, “You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest…Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
What’s one to do? Looking back over my list, I have even forgotten to type “studying scripture” and “prayer.” It is obvious that my priorities are wrong. This should be my starting place and, with God’s mercy, this can be changed – but can this eradicate the whole issue of calling? I am a created being - designed to function the way I do and endowed with specific gifts. I am designed, and endowed like this for service in God’s kingdom and my using these skills is a form of worship. Is not my whole being involved in redemption?
But then there is a second question – What if things never change? Can I bear a lifetime of this? Alone, I cannot, with friends and family, I cannot, but through the cross I can. We were never promised a life of ease and I often forget this. In his hymn Am I a Soldier of the Cross, Isaac Watts questions “Must I be carried to the skies on flow'ry beds of ease while other fought to win the prize and sailed on bloody seas? Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood? Is this vile world a friend to grace to help me on to God?” The only true question is do I truly believe this and, if so, am I willing to stake not only my comfort, but also my entire life, on this truth? My heart is weak and it yearns to cry out, “No, I cannot do this! It is too much to ask of me!” but it cannot because it also knows that if separated from this tree of woe and glory, it could scarcely breathe. “So I fall before you – I know no other stance!. This is where I stand."
It is good to dream. It is good to desire. It is good to want blessing. But, it is not good to be so overcome by these things that our joy rests on them alone – which is unfortunately the place where I often find myself. Because my heart is unruly, perhaps God sees wisely that it is best to not give me my heart’s desire lest I try to flee. His aim is not to spoil me on this earth, but to fit me to enter into glory where I will then see that the joys I once thought were so intoxicating were but mere shadows of what will be found in the new heavens and the new earth. Thus, he kindly disciplines me and his Spirit moves in my heart so that I will cling to this hope and continues to plant in me the roots of trust.
“O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee! I give thee back the life I owe that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be!” [Matheson].
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Monday, August 12, 2002
- Ah, holy Jesus -À la Kristen Knox -
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
Sung at Grace and Peace in Asheville, NC
That man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.
Who was the guilty? who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee:
I crucified thee.
Lo, the good Shepherd for the sheep is offered:
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered:
For man's atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation:
Thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.
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