Saturday, December 12, 2009

Still A Mystery: We Do, He Does

Something occurred to me yesterday (as I write this), as I Peg and I were driving to see Invictus at Amstar 14 in Alabaster.

Incidentally .. Invictus is a wonderful film telling a story that's greater than we knew. And there's no trick, no sub-plot, just a recounting of the story of what brought South Africa out of apartheid.

What occurred to me is related to the concert that Isaiah Smith and I went to, last Wednesday evening. I just had a terrific time there, and it occurred to me it had to do with more than just the performance.

I mentioned that we sat on the front row, immediately in front of where Victor Wooten .. the world's best bass player .. stood. All evening long, out of the side of my vision, I could see Isaiah watching the band in general, and Wooten in particular. Victor's a really neat bass player, Isaiah plays the bass, and the expression of joy on Isaiah's face was absolutely priceless. I don't think I've ever seen a young man so captivated for so long, as I saw Wednesday evening. It was as if a life-long dream .. that of a long life .. had come true.

The thought that hit me was that the best part of the concert, for me, was that I'd had a hand in bringing such a thrill to this young man .. he's 15 .. who lost his dad to cancer a few years ago.

That thought powered another train of thought. God has done some incredible things in my life .. things which have blessed me beyond my ability to describe .. and what occurred to me is they've almost always been something He did, seemingly in response to something I did.

Sitting down and writing a poem (which I never can do unless God inspires me to..), praying for someone's healing, speaking up when something needs to be said (even when it might get me in trouble, and despite the fact that I am, by nature, shy & insecure), encouraging a friend to do something they don't think they could ever do (when the downside could be substantial), preaching a sermon in Jamaica when I'm nowhere close to a preacher, but had a message and God seemed to be saying "do it...", asking an off-the-wall question that came from left field, and a lot of other things that just really don't seem like the real "me" that I know me to be.

I saw a question on Facebook one day which said "If someone could teach you a simple way to share your faith, would you do it?" I asked why that would even be necessary; I mean, I doubt your favorite restaurant taught you a course on how to tell someone it was your favorite restaurant! Your faith is your faith, and you have everything you need to tell someone else about it. There's nothing "else" you have to learn before you can do that.

In my experience, if we'll do what we CAN do, in His service, HE will add some other stuff to our Spiritual "repertoire" once we show ourselves faithful to use what He's ALREADY given us. And, if that doesn't happen, it may well be because people think there's "something else" they need to learn before they can serve Him.

Said all that to say this: an abysmally small percentage of Christians .. if we can believe the widely-published stats .. are actually involved in the Kingdom work here. Don't those folks .. the ones on the sidelines .. understand that the purest joy there is on earth is found in serving Him? In seeing what He will do, in response to what we do in serving Him?

We use a God-given gift in teaching, and God uses that to impact someone's life in ways we never could. And God lifts the veil and shows us what happened, when He knows we need to see that.

We use our gift of ministering to infants, which causes the parents to trust us with their kids while they themselves sit under the preaching of God's Word, upstairs, and lives are changed for His glory.

I cannot tell you the times Peg has been moved to tears when some teen that she taught, as a pre-schooler, gets saved and comes for Baptism. I don't know that I ever see her more fulfilled than that.

The downside: if all you do is go to church and sit in a pew, chances are you'll never see this at all. And, because you never actually do anything in the Kingdom work, you may well not ever know the joys of seeing God intervene in something you did for Jesus' sake, and watch while God works miracles in someone's life following something you did, that you could, in fact, do.

Even to seeing a 15-year-old, who's already had more grief than many will ever experience, radiate pure joy for three whole hours, one Wednesday night.

And one more thing: THAT joy is infectious!

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