Friday, January 16, 2009

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"I Hope You Find Some Better People"

Chelsea was a faithful participant in our morning devotional during one of my tours in Southwest Asia.  We spent many a Friday morning contemplating everything under the hot desert sun:  theology, work, family, mission, leadership, evangelism ... 

The issue of pointed concern to Chelsea, though, was grace.  Often we would spend time after the devotional broke up discussing how God's sanctifying work is a process, not an event, and that a healthy Christian often feels more sinful as she grows closer to God's holiness.  Still, the burden of her sin was heavy around her neck, so that Chelsea could truly cry aloud with the Apostle Paul, "What a wretched (wo)man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?"

One day, after a particuarly long discussion, Chelsea looked at me and said, "You know, you're probably one of the three most important people in my spiritual life right now."  Flabbergasted, I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind:  "Well, I hope you find some better people."

This probably wasn't the most appropriate response, but it certainly reflected my surprise.  After all, Chelsea's tour in the desert lasted only 4 months, which seemed hardly enough time to generate this kind of spiritual connection (especially considering that male-female prudence demanded we avoid any kind of real one-on-one alone time).  My gut reaction was self-consciousness, and a concern that my words of "wisdom" were, in fact, wise.

I suppose this brings me back to my "Daisy" story from last October.  All God asks from us is faithfulness in using the talents He's given us.  It's not our extraordinary skill that that changes lives, but God's Spirit working through our faithful service and the gifts He's given us ... to the praise of His glory.

3 comments:

  1. I can invision a girl such as Chelsea saying that to such as person as yourself. Sometimes it isn't the length of time that we have known a person that brings about such a soul bearing comment. Instead it is the truth of the relationship. Many people can know one another for years and not be honest and heart sharing as I know you to be. Though I know you know already....she was complimenting the Jesus in you that you freely reflect.
    Have a blessed day.

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  2. I echo Jules comment. The best, most productive relationships I have (and have had) are/were with those whose lives exhibit a kind of transparency that communicates "I've been there" in genuine ways (Anjinsan!). I think the comment discloses a vital ingredient of our small group leadership. If we want honest sharing we need to be willing to lead the charge.
    It brings up another issue. One thing I notice as a teacher in a Christian school and as a small group leader is the banality of prayer requests. At the risk of seeming insensitive to physical ailments, how do you all get past the "pray for my Aunt Susie's knee operation next week" litany of prayer requests? I can share my own needs but this does not often lead to honest sharing of needs or requests that go beyond the typical prayers for healing.

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  3. Chief -- on your second point, I think you ought to publish a separate post on that (not just comment). It's a great discussion topic, and one that troubles many of us!

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