Friday, February 24, 2012

Keeping Watch

It's hard to live each moment of each day as if it matters, with a constant anticipation of the coming of something great...or dreadful. The sheer mundane every day routine is sure to dull even the sharpest excitement. Yet we are called to be watchful (Matthew 24-26), to be ready when Christ returns. And according to Matthew 25:1-13, it seems the consequences of not paying attention are huge!

So what does this mean to be watchful? To be ready? Well, there are a few hints what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean be lazy, nor unjust, nor "caught" doing the things that the Master would not condone. It means taking care of hit hat which is entrusted to us. From these passages Jesus mentions finances or relationships, or family in his parables but I almost think that they are more like analogies of something else. I can't quite put my finger on it. But he talks about taking care of it in a serious way and growing it not just holding on and keeping it safe, but exposing it to risk and seeking a return on it.

Yet to be watchful too.

Jesus, what on earth (or heaven!) are You talking about?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


When you move your family, home, and work 600 miles you get the feeling that you've been reborn. You get to start anew, afresh, and enjoy skull ting a new story. You build new friendships and new community, you get to see the world from a new perspective. You start to develop a new routine, new habits, a new life.

Since this is where I find myself, I have realized how important it is to have principles and values to carry me through the rebuilding process. We're at a wonderful time to make things new, but if we're not careful we'll let the environment around us create the edges of our foundation. And once the cement has dried, it'll be much more difficult to reset and try again.

Three months of transition had let my values slip from my mind such that I forgot to love the person in front of me. It's not that I broke into some sort of sinning rampage, but simply that I lost focus on why matters. I fell when under very little pressure.

I had 4 back to back meetings in Lafayette and focused in on financial planning versus helping people. In the first meeting I met a guy whose main goal in life is to have enough money now and in retirement to afford to go to strip clubs as often as he wants and fund a lifestyle...not worth repeating. And upon hearing this, I simply processed what he would need to do financially to make that happen. Kind of...actually I was pretty thrown off because I had never met someone with this low of morals or dreams and desires. However, a siren should have been going off in my head that this guy doesn't need financial help, he needs Jesus!

For the next week I kept chewing on this meeting in my brain trying to figure out what to do. I ended up posting my values on the wall and calling him to share how mine don't add up to his and we really shouldn't work together. I still don't know exactly how I should have handled that situation, but I am adamant that my values should play a bigger role.

Which brings us to Sunday.

Kim an I have found a church home here and are excited about what's going on. This Sunday, the pastor spoke about the 5 steps to fall, referencing Peter through each point. It was helpful to me after considering this scenario I just described.
1. Confidence in self instead of God's word (financial planning confidence for me)
2. Spiritual apathy: sleeping instead of praying and keeping watch (I should go into each meeting after praying through it)
3. Acting on my will instead of God's (I was trying to bring on new clients, I hadn't even considered God's will)
4. Following Jesus at a distance (trying to tip toe as a Christian until I get settled here. Afraid of how people will react and then not knowing how I should react)
5. Sitting with the enemy (trying to make a friend out of someone I really should never have as a friend)

I, like most of us, would like to think I have learned this for the last time. History has a way of repeating in a different color and different dance. When that happens, may you and I stick to our values and let those frame our thoughts and out actions.