My iPAQ is down again. I had to reset and reload it. These things simplify life, right?
At least I get to catch up on blogs. Here’s a quote from Jon Swanson:
Much to the chagrin of churchy people, the standard that Jesus established was not dying for our faith. It was dying for each other. Too often we get all stuffy about standing up for our beliefs. Seldom do we get celebrated for laying down our lives or our livelihood for others. (However, it happens. All the time)
He’s writing about peas and a fundraising effort for a breast cancer patient.
But this is so true, isn’t it?
We’re so much more likely to say, “Yes Lord! I’ll die for you!” than we are “Yes, Lord! I’ll die to that area of my life for this person.”
That’s why so many marriages fail. Dying for Jesus (in North America) is largely conceptual. But dying to myself for my spouse means I really have to change. And if I don’t my spouse will let me know!
Dying for Jesus can happen at some unspecified time. Dying for others happens NOW.
I think that’s been the most incredible thing about pastoring for three years now. Often, the people that don’t stick with us are the ones that
- say they’ll die for Jesus and say it loudly and
- want every single part of life to conform to their own preconceived notions.
Then they go and justify their inflexibility by their passion for Jesus.
And as a recipient of their “you’re-not-doing-it-like-I-would-so-you’re-not-doing-it-God’s-way,” I get to die to myself. Their myopic vision isn’t something I need to chastise them for or vilify them for. Once in a while I’ll get to call them on it. And it certainly is stress producing. But we keep reminding ourselves we’re all myopic in some areas.
I’m not ranting. Really. This is just how it is. This is community. It’s not hanging out with people you love 24/7. It’s living life with people and doing it whether it feels comfortable or not.
If you’re a pastor, I bet you know it’s true.
If you know a pastor, ask Jesus to help them live in this tension. Ask God to help them have a thick skin and a tender heart.
And if you call the Vineyard Church of Waterville your home, thank you! We have an amazingly committed crew of people that are committed to dying for each other. You guys keep short accounts (not letting things fester). You keep communication open. And you’re just as honest when you’re going through a crappy patch of life as you are when you’re living in praise-land!
You guys are the best.
[Hallelujah! My iPAQ just binged at me!!! It’s fixed!]