Today’s Readings: Numbers 16:20-35; Acts 28:23-31; Isaiah 11:1-9
As I look back on my spiritual journey, I find it interesting that for many years I participated fully in the life of the church and yet didn’t have much of a spiritual life. I went to worship, heard hundreds of sermons, participated in the social activities in the church, and helped with the mission projects. I enjoyed each of the experiences for the most part, but I never experienced first hand a sense of spiritual awakening – that is until I was in my late twenties.
So what dramatic thing happened that helped deepen my experience?
That question isn’t so easy to answer. On the outside, very little changed. I continued attending the same church, I continued holding the same job, I continued to be surrounded by friends and family – all of those external things stayed exactly the same. On the inside, however, everything changed. I began to honestly face my limitations and sense of brokenness. Once I did that, my spiritual life took off!
In many ways, for the first 26 years of my life I was like those whom the prophet Isaiah addressed when he noted: “You’re going to listen with your ears, but you won’t hear a word; you’re going to stare with your eyes, but you won’t see a thing!” (Acts 28:25 from The Message). Thankfully, life eventually found a way to slow me down and help me hear and see.
From my own experience, I have gained a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for ministry. I figure if God can reach someone who is as stubborn and strong-willed as I, then God can reach anyone! The challenge for me in my ministry is to hang in there and be patient with others as they move along in their process.
So what was your transition from listening to hearing – from staring to seeing like? Did the transition happen slowing, or quickly? Was it painful, electrifying, or some combination of the two? Today I would encourage you to take time and think back on your own transition. Those memories might increase your patience with those in your life who aren’t yet ready to hear and see. Til next time…