Today, I am feeling on edge. It is toward no one in particular. At the moment, I am feeling a little on edge about my life, my ministry, and the church. I find myself longing for simplicity.
This afternoon, I was thinking about my life as it was almost thirty years ago. I was a junior at North Texas and had recently found a new church home. The church was in southeast Dallas in an area that was quickly changing in terms of its ethnic make up. What once had been a predominatly white area was now being populated by African-Americans and Hispanics. This church, instead of moving to the other side of town, decided to stay and minister in the community. And–that church more and more began to look like the people in its community.
It was in this church that I was mentored by a fine businessman. It was in this church that I learned the meaning of Christian friendship. It was in this church that I experienced doing real ministry in the community week after week.
Now some thirty years later, I long for the simplicity of those years. My ministry, the church, my life, often feels more and more complex. At times I feel like I am standing in giant wads of chewing gum. Moving along can seem very difficult. At times, I forget the small, the obvious, and the simple. Not long ago, I realized that I was talking and meeting more about ministry than actually doing it. I really don’t want to be that way. There is a big difference in experiencing life in Christ and just talking about it.
Yet, I desire and envision so much more:
I want to grow to treasure God more than anything or anyone in my life.
I want to be a person who is absolutely sold out for Jesus. I’m not there yet.
I want to see the church really be the body of Christ, displaying the very life of Jesus as we go about our vocations each day.
I want us as a group of Christians to learn God dependency, trusting in his Holy Spirit to be our power.
I want us to be a people who are deeply passionate about seeing the Gospel go to the entire world.
I long to be a person whose first inclination is to pray, leaving behind the impotentcy of depending on the flesh.
I long for the day when we believe that the life of Christ is the heart of our ministry–not meetings, budgets, paper etc. Those need to be the incidentials not a focal point. If every single organized ministry at our church were shut down tomorrow, we could still have an awesome ministry in this community by just being the living presence of Jesus where we are.
I could go on…Maybe you too need to be thinking about simplicty again. What was life in the Lord lie before we made it so complicated? What does it really mean to be a community of believers?