We can dream and set goals but do not know what the future holds. One of my goals is to pass on to others what I have learned in life and in ministry. Through contemplative reflection I have arrived at a fallacy which at times I stumble as if I were its prey. I was saved April 14th, 1991 at age twenty-six. I answered the call to preach God’s Word in 1993. I graduated from Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA with an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts, I graduated from Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, SC with a Master of Divinity, and now I am completing my Doctor of Ministry at Regent University. The fallacy is twofold. First, “I” had little to do with any of those accomplishments. If it were not for the grace and power of God none of these things would have taken place. Second, a person’s age and academic accomplishments may equate quantity but they do not equate quality.
Each time I enter a new season of learning my heart is full of gratitude and my mind is full of fear. The passage that comes to mind is the Kenosis passage in Philippians. After presenting to us the example of Jesus, Paul writes, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV). As we embark on new phases of the journey… I think it is accurate to say that we are now taking steps down a “road less traveled.” For me, the work continues with fear and trembling.
Christian leadership is not achieved by through academia alone. This week I have been reflecting on Nouwen. He discovered the meaning of Christian leadership in his movement from Harvard to L’Arche. There he learned that his many years of experience meant little or nothing. What really mattered was his love for God demonstrated actively as he ministered to those at the Daybreak community. Nouwen was working out his own salvation with reverence, respect, and humility. As he partnered with a man named Bill he learned the power of discipleship as the Holy Spirit guides.
Friends, the studies we pursue will most likely be used to bless people that will be counting on us. We can put our nose to the grinding wheel and succeed with high marks but if we lose the simplicity of the gospel message we will have utterly failed. As we journey together to know the heart of Jesus, we must always keep before us His question, “Do you love me?” The temptation may be great to take the road which leads to being relevant, spectacular, or powerful but the higher road of humility will take us closer to God’s heart.