The Chair and the Desk, 3/21/16

From the chair:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

-Romans 8:18-25

Don’t give up. That’s the thought on my mind after reading these verses this morning. Don’t retreat just yet into cynicism. “What we shall be has not yet appeared.”

Scrolling through the news tempts me to just go back to bed. To try to not enter this week where the war in Syria is still on, the refugee crisis remains vitriolic, the bombings keep coming, the Zika virus looms, and slavery marches on. It looks bad.

But hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

God’s Word still calls us to have faith in the glory that will be revealed. If we lose this, we lose it all, and may as well retreat into make-believe, but if we have this–and we have this by the promise of the Almighty God–then we know that the real, the coming reality of the freedom of the glory of the children of God is not far off. We can hope for it, wait for it, pray for it, reach for it. For we have tasted what is to come, the first fruits of the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, through whom God can raise even these mortal bodies.

From the desk:

Today was largely taken up with class, so instead of a quote from my reading, I’ll pass on a conversation from class. Actually, this is only gist of the conversation, and I don’t set it up as me/classmate/me in order to suggest that I’m always right, but rather to show how this classmate pushed me to think further than I had.

We were talking about changing culture. I said something to the effect of, “Sure we need godly congresspersons, impacting lots and lots of people in little ways, but we also need 1,000,000 pastors influencing a few people in major ways.”

My colleague replied something along the lines of, “But how are you going to get 1,000,000 pastors to agree? How are you going to get them to do it together or even do the same thing?”

I had to think about this for a while, but now that class is over, here’s my answer: I can’t. I can’t get 1,000,000 pastors to agree. This is the beauty and mystery and challenge and reality of the Church of Jesus Christ: I can’t be 1,000,000 pastors. I can’t even lead 1,000,000 pastors. I can’t even contact 1,000,000 pastors. I can only be 1 pastor, but if that’s what I’m called to, I’d better be that 1 pastor in a nature that befits the one who called me.

The same thing rings true for mothers and fathers, managers and officers. None of us can fill all the roles or impact all of those who do. That’s how life works. That’s part of being human. Great things take a lifetime, and we each only get 1. Yet, we must not let our limits keep us from our responsibilities. The one who holds us responsible is also the one who holds all things together.

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.


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