Fence Post OF Faith—March 2010


Does it seem like winter is dragging its feet? We here in the Midwest have had our share of bad weather this year as well. The good news is the Barrel bashes are getting started up at Sterling ILL., at the end of Feb. and two races in March Hutchinson Kansas then we head to Columbia Mo. Renea has a great line up this year. Renea really has a variety of locations this year, and speaking of Variety, last Sunday after church we went to a Hy-Vee to grab breakfast it was getting close to lunch time and a lot of people were eating at the salad bar and I couldn’t help noticing the different ways in which people approached the buffet.
There were the dieters who by passed the solid foods and sampled a little salad, fruit, cheese, while casting furtive glances at the desserts. Some people approached the table as if they had a battle plan. They had small plates for certain items and larger plates for the main dishes. They placed their food with care so that sauces and flavors didn’t get missed up. Their plates were like well laid out gardens. (These people probably never have just one sock left over in their sock drawer.)
Then there were those who approached the table with gusto and abandon. Taking their cue from the old beer commercial advice “You only go around once in life,” they were out to grab it all. Their plates were piled high with every strange and exotic food. Most of the things on the bottom had merged together into a mass of indistinguishable calories. Over the top they slopped Thousand Island dressing, allowing it to run off the side of the plate, leaving a telltale trail back to their seats.
Our approach to the salad bar can sometimes be a indicator of how we approach life. Does our fear keep us confined to small survival rations, or do we develop plans and strategies to make the most of our circumstances? Are we grasping and consuming, trying squeeze out of each moment, or are we holding back, waiting for a better offer?
We each have our own unique style in approaching life. Sometimes that style works well for us, and other times it hinders our growth. Unfortunately, even when our usual approach doesn’t work, we tend to keep pursuing the destructive behavior, hoping that we will get different results. How many times in our life have we continued in old patterns, hoping things would change?
We need a fresh approach in order to move ahead in life free from the numbing traditions and behaviors that have failed to bring us freedom or growth we desire. Conventional wisdom has not helped us to think creatively, and conventional religion has not helped us to live with abandon. We need a “Jesus Style” of life, and unconventional spirituality that that releases us to live passionately, with both freedom and grace.
One of the most frequently asks questions on any family trip are “Are we there yet?”  In this age of instant breakfast, microwave cooking, Concorde Jets, and immediate access to information via computers, we want it now!
The destination orientation seeps into every area of life. We want to have relationships, but we don’t take the time to develop intimacy. Kind of like barrel racing we enjoy, but resist the daily practice necessary to develop the ability to be on top.  Like many top barrel racers we envoy, we like riding but dread the grind of practice day in and day out to be the top of our game. Spiritually, we long for fulfillment; we want the end result of faith more than we want to live by faith. We want to be mature, wise, pure, loving, instantaneously. We are often like the person who said, “I want patience, and I want it NOW!” I find it interesting that Jesus never spoke in terms of arrival or destination when He called people to be His disciples. The gospel accounts show Jesus inviting them to follow Him, but he doesn’t tell them where they are going to get there.
Imagine the apostle trying to explain to his wife why he is leaving the family fishing business, or Matthew letting his parents know that he is giving us that he is giving up that great job with the tax office to follow Jesus. Can you imagine the questions this must have raised? ‘What do you mean, follow Jesus? Follow him where? What will you do? How will you eat? Where will you stay? Why don’t you just settle down and get this foolishness out of your head?”
Following Christ today raises some of the same issues in our minds. He invites us to follow Him, but we want to know where we are going. We want Him to show us a road map and consult us on the best way to get there. But this is not faith. Faith involves letting go of our destination orientation in order to allow Christ to lead us on a daily basis. Faith is as much a journey as it is a Destination.

I have said a lot today, let it soak in and read it again.
Adios Jeff Metcalf