Satan made me do it! Satan caused me to go work in that soup kitchen so I'd miss out on that Bible study!
If that comment sounds confusing, it should be. But that comment very well could have come out of the mouths of some very close people to me.
okay okay - I've gotten pumped up enough about something that I'm going to burn some brain cells here.
So I had a recent experience with a church member that really got me fired up (its a pun, haha, satan?). Basically I got angry because there is this worthless question that has been bouncing around in my mind lately, and I *know* its causing me grief. The question is...
Can we be so worried about Satan/worrying/theworld/ourselves that we hesitate and miss our "best" purposes? C.S. Lewis, Frank Pereti (sp?) and a bunch of others would LOVE for you to ask them this question, but its not a question I want to consider. Why? Because. Its one of those arguments that feels like it goes around and around and around. I think you can definitely know God's will, and so it can be reasoned that you can know what is NOT God's will, but really? Why would that even concern me if I'm focused on God's will?
See what I mean? It sounds like a worthless argument. It comes from a good place, but I don't really care if that counseling session with that grieving couple was "of the devil" because I was really supposed to be out on a street corner with some homeless guy (there it is again hehe).
I think some people get so wrapped up in proper discernment they become paralyzed. They THINK they are comparing apples and oranges, when really they are asking which is more an apple? The green one or the red one?
And does God even care? Obviously the Church needs to look at itself and say "This is where God wants us". But we can't beat ourselves over the head and say "Oh my! What a bad Church we are! We were ministering over here when we should have been over there!" The most important determining factor on the importance of a particular action is how well it lines up with God's will. Some things are "more" God's will than others, I'll grant you that. But some are a lot closer to God's will than others too... for example... God presses upon a pastor that her Church needs to minister to old folks. Compare with me...three apples and an orange. (the orange comes first)
1.) The pastor sells the church and retires to St. Kitts. and just so you know, this could never happen in the UMC.
2.) The pastor shares the vision with the congregation and they decide to pay for/open a nursing home.
3.) The congregation and pastor share a vision with each other and decide to make visiting shut-ins a requirement for membership.
4.) The pastor hires a retired minister to care for the elderly in the congregation because she's always wanted to be a youth director. (so she works with the youth)
Now see....I look at my hypothetical list and I see three apples and an orange. But SOME people have me fired up because they see three oranges and ONE apple. The apple of course, being the correct "God's Will" action that is straight from divine intervention.
See? What the mizz? Sure, you want to get better, but how can you fault a church for reaching out to youth? Its easy to fault a church for poor management and misplaced programming. But faithful planning? How could that not be as good as something else?
I'm not saying we can't discern God's will, I'm just saying you can be SO wrapped up in trying to determine it that you NEVER get off the ground in the first place.
I'd love your thoughts...