Sunday, June 03, 2007

Reasonable Service

(Authors note: Those of you who know me or have followed my journey via this blog over the last months know that I voluntarily resigned a long held ministry position in a church that held my heart passionately captive for over two decades. It has been six months and a few scattered days since I left that place. It has been a time of personal healing, internal inventory, dis-equilibrium, gut checking, reflection, and God seeking. The months were very well spent and very helpful. I have separated the questions and issues which can be answered and understood from those that cannot. It was a lot of very hard work.

And this morning God told me it is finally time to put it down. As if that is not significant enough He also told me how to do it. This brief blog is not written for any purpose other than "stake driving." This is simply a "note to self." Please do not interpret it in any other way. If you choose to do so let it be known ... that is on you. There are pieces of history in every person’s life that they can never really make peace with. That is certainly true for me. But there is always a time to close the book. Seal the envelope. Lock the drawer. This, for me, is that day. That hour. May it all be for a greater good.)

God spoke to me this morning. He spoke loudly and clearly. I heard His voice through another human being. He is a guy that is 400 miles removed from this desk in my home office. But through the miracle of the World Wide Web I was able to listen to him "real time." I heard his words and saw his face through my computer as he was speaking them.

His topic was Romans 12: 1, "Therefore, in view of God's mercy, offer yourselves as living sacrifices, unto God. This is your reasonable service."

Reasonable service.

To give God my all ... everything I am and have ... is nothing more than my "reasonable service." Why? Because He has given me everything. Life. Forgiveness. Family. Health. Friends. The ability to sit back, look at my life as I have lived it to date and simply exhale, knowing that it is all OK. The pressure is off because of what Jesus did for me.

Reasonable service.

No man owes me anything. Neither explanation nor apology. Neither applause nor condemnation. I am not owed applause or even a "thank you" because all of the good I might have done, even if it was at great personal cost, is simply my reasonable service to God. I am not owed condemnation because any mistakes or even blatant disobedience on my part have already been paid for by the sacrifice of Christ.

If I owe you an apology please accept this as that offering. If I have hurt you ... I am sorry. I honestly don't know I have hurt you because I have tried to cover all of those bases in real life conversations. But if I missed you ... I am sorry.

Danger, injury and even risk of death are required from Christ followers. Because of what He has done for us it is our reasonable service. It is not out of the ordinary, unexpected or to be looked upon as shocking.

Reasonable service.

Serve to the best of your ability. Give it all. Everything. Hold back nothing. When you walk off of the playing field of life one day exit knowing that you "left it all on the field." Do all you can and leave the rest to God.

I cannot say that I have done that in every day and in every circumstance of my life. But I know that I can say it as it applies to the last two decades. I gave it all. I left it all on the field. I left the field drained and pained. I was rather useless to anybody.

And today the book of that time of life ... at God's command ... I intentionally close mentally, emotionally, spiritually. To paraphrase Paul again it is time to turn away from the past and run the race toward the future.

I left it all on the field. God has spent the last six months refilling my energy levels and when He is ready He will show me how and where to pour that out again.

OK, so this has not been a fun blog to read. My apologies. Most of you have no idea what in the world this crazy guy is talking about. That is good. For those of you who do ... thank you for putting up with my confession. I thought that this was something that I did not want to write for public consumption. And then I realized that I had to. Not for you. For me. Do not try to understand it. Just forget it and wait for a better blog tonight or tomorrow. This is just something that I had to do.

Reasonable service. Leaving it on the field. It is a good day.