I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about what it means for me to follow God.
Reading Irresistible Revolution (among other things) has really challenged me on what it means to walk as a disciple of Jesus. I’ve long felt that there’s a lot more to the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels (and more importantly their application to our lives) than I got from my Christian upbringing… I’ve mulled over verses and struggled to place them into the context of my life… Quotes like this don’t help:
“You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too… But I guess that’s why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.”
[Rich Mullins, quoted on page 98]
Then you have to get your head round passages like Matthew 25:31-46.
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to serve the church. I’ve wanted to help, to pastor, and (probably, although there’s a lot of fear associated with this too) to preach and to lead worship. In fairness, lots of people, many of them those who had not met me before, have given me words and pictures in this direction, so it isn’t all just me.
But as I’ve thought about this, especially as I’ve looked at the possibility of training to be some form of Minister, I’ve again and again had to question my motives. This seems to me to be what I want to do with my life, but why? Is it a sincere desire to follow God, to serve Him? Or is it a desire for respect, for recognition, for personal glory? And if I sincerely desire to follow Christ, then how do I reconcile it with the challenges laid down by Rich Mullins, Shane Claiborne, and by Jesus Himself?
At the end of his preach on Sunday, Barney put up the following prayer from the Methodist Covenant service. I am still wrestling with the significance of these words, but it is already becoming a sincere (theres that word again) prayer:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, put me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.