Skip to main content

WALK

I heard a story the other day about a man, an evangelist, who wanted to make an impact in a certain country, but he had no contacts in this land and therefore, no opportunities to do anything there. So what he felt he should do was visit the place every year and walk around - nothing earth-shattering happened, he just walked around. For five years he made periodic visits to the country and walked and walked and walked. During the sixth year, on one of his visits, he met a person who introduced him to someone else and this contact gave him an invitation to work with and speak to the people in this country and thus the door opened to doing the very thing he had envisioned all those years.

I found this story strangely encouraging, because most of my life seems to be spent walking around. I would love to be thrust from one thrilling adventure to another, leap from one success story to the next, have one vision after another fulfilled, but alas, many of my days are spent plodding along. One foot in front of the other, one word at a time, one conversation following another, one sit-up at a time, day after day of eating, cleaning, working, laughing, loving and encountering people in everyday life. The immediate progress is not visible in any measurable or significant way, but that is the thing about foundations – they take time to build. There is always a guaranteed reward to faithfulness, but how many times do I miss it because I can’t see results after the fourth year, get discouraged, and stop walking? The children of Israel who were walking around the walls of Jericho could have stopped at the sixth circuit around the city and gone home defeated. After all, what did they really have to show for their efforts except a well-worn trail and a lot of dust? I have now lived in Quebec for 6 years, and much of that time has been spent walking, living, listening, learning. Nothing earth-shattering. But I can feel a subtle change, mostly in my attitude, towards the people that surround me. I identify with them more, I understand them better, and I no longer feel like an outsider. These six years have planted me here and now I am beginning to see the fruit of walking in a strange land. The walls between us are starting to come down. I am now a Quebecer, not simply a visitor.

Walking is important. Not every step is the one that puts you over the finish line, but without each and every step, one would never get there. Sometimes I get into that restrictive somewhat utilitarian mindset where everything must have immediate results or measurable and obvious spiritual goals before I consider it worth doing. This is a very narrow view of life because it supposes that I am the one to judge the end, that I can in fact see where things are leading and how they will turn out, that I know which things have lasting value and which things are a waste of time. Worst of all, it presumes that life is a story about me. It is not. It is a story about God, a loving father who calls his kids to walk towards him, even when they don't see the end of the road.

Comments

Doug Floyd said…
Thanks Matte. That's a blessing.

I am thinking of Jude 1:24

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy..."
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
other anonymous said…
Looks like someone ^ has been watching you closely.

Just wanted to let you know that Utilitarianism is an entirely different thing from what you last equivocated it to.

Blessings.

Popular posts from this blog

what does the cross mean?

Words which we use a lot can sometimes become divested of their depth of meaning. In the Christian tradition, we talk about the cross a lot. We see visual representations of the cross in prominent places in our gathering spaces, we wear crosses around our necks, some get crosses tattooed on their bodies. The cross is a ubiquitous symbol in Christianity, so lately I have been asking myself, what exactly does the cross mean? For the most part, the cross as portrayed in contemporary Christianity is a beautiful thing, festooned with flowers and sunsets and radiant beams of light (just google cross or cross coloring page). But in the first century, the cross was a symbol of disgrace. To the Roman empire, this ignoble instrument of death was for those who were traitors and enemies of the state. We are many centuries removed from this view of the cross as the locus of torture and death and shame. The fact that Christianity has made the cross a symbol of hope and beauty is a good thing, but p…

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…