I had a crazy, God experience yesterday. It wasn’t a Moses “burning bush” experience (see Exodus 3) or an Isaiah “I am ruined” experience (see Isaiah 6). It was more like an Elijah “gentle whisper” encounter (see 1 Kings 19).
I am a pretty driven guy. I feed off of getting things done and I frequently get annoyed when things or people get in the way of MY plans. God has recently given me two words that I am learning to live out at home: “gentle” and “present.” In learning how to be consistently gentle and present with Nancy and my two sons, I often feel like I’m do something as simple, and as necessary, as learning to breathe. It is so fundamental to how God has called me to live but it is so foreign to me because of how I have spent the past 40 years of my life.
Yesterday I received an email at work that threw my plans for a loop. My initial response was not gentle and present; it was irritation and annoyance. If my thought was put into words, it would’ve sounded something like this: “How dare this person derail MY plans with their agenda. I have plans and these plans need to be set in stone so I can cross it off my list and move on to the next thing. Surely God wants me to get this done! In fact these aren’t just MY plans, these are GOD’S plans.”
You get the idea…
It was then that I had a thought that had to be God’s Spirit within me. The reason I know it was God is that it was so foreign to me. My brain could never have originated this thought because it was so different from my way of doing life. I’m pretty sure this thought was worded as a question (I honestly don’t remember much except the truth that God was conveying to me). In the midst of my internal, self-centered rant God asked, “Charlie, what if this interaction IS my plan for you?” This question has been rattling around my soul for the past 24 hours.
It’s crazy! God isn’t so much concerned with my plans and all that I want to get accomplished. He is far more concerned with the way I interact and relate to another human being that has been created in His image. God is far more focused on what I learn as I live life in community and love the people He has graciously placed around me. It is through this that God will accomplish His great purposes in me and through me.
Summer at Mount Hermon is coming and I am excited to continue learning this truth. As we live and serve students, families, churches and one another in community, our theme verse will be Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:25-28:
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I can’t wait to achieve greatness with all whom God has calls to serve at Mount Hermon this summer!