Today, I met with a group at lunch composed of area church leaders and directors of various para-church organizations. This group included: Baptist, Catholic, Missionary Alliance, Nazarene, Community Churches, etc. The issue? Identifying forgotten people in our area. We talked for an hour, each expressing the particular people situation that especially concerned us. I learned much from hearing these concerns. These included:
- Pregnant unmarried girls.
- Mentally challenged people.
- Those who are addicted to alcohol/drugs.
- Boys with no fathers.
- Undocumented people.
There were a number of other people situations that were also mentioned. During this discussion, I learned. I now have some people situations on my radar screen who otherwise would not be there.
After we met, I thought about how refreshing the conversation had been. I feel like I have so much to learn. I have been thinking about what I have been learning recently.
- From Gordon MacDonald, I recently learned something about what it means to live a resilient life.
- From James Thompson, (heard him speak last Friday in Salado) I learned that we will present a maturing church to God in the end (I Cor.3:10-15).
- From the Psalms, I have been learning about God being a faithful shield (Ps. 3, Ps. 5:12, Ps. 18:1-2, etc.)
- From Lynn Anderson’s They Smell Like Sheep material, I learned the importance of loving and caring for the flock that is around me.
I also learn from my children. The other night, one of our daughters talked with me about a bad experience she had in a Bible class, many years ago. The situation centered around a person’s warped view of Scripture. As a result, that spilled over to her little Bible class. I felt sick as she told me this.
We had just moved to a new area and we were new to that church. Many people in the church seemed nervous and anxious. I suppose that much of the anxiety centered around them wanting things to work with the new minister. In the midst of this, our daughter was having a difficult time. Today, she remembers this as one of the low points in her spiritual journey.
Years later, I can say that I learned from that situation. I would handle it differently if I could. Meanwhile, there are many other things in life that I want to learn:
- I want to learn to be calm even when I am around people who seem anxious and nervous.
- I want to learn to have courage even when I can smell the scent of fear on others around me.
- I want to learn to be truthful and open with people, even when I am dealing with people who keep me at arms length.
- I want to learn to smile and enjoy life, even when others whine and complain about some things that have the significance of a gnat.
- I want to learn to be patient with people, who may just now be thinking through an issue that I have been thinking about for a long time.
- I want to learn to choose faith, even when fear seems more reasonable.