A Handful of Lessons for a Lifetime
As I am going through this process of raising support to work full-time for Cru and reflecting on what I feel God is trying to show me or teach me through these processes, I feel like (and correct me if you disagree) God doesn’t try to teach us a million lessons over the course of our lives. You know? He’s not trying to teach us a million things. He’s trying to teach us a handful of things and basically is right now, in this moment, with you, with me, with other believers showing us how to react or act in situations by teaching us a handful of lessons.
It’s the things that you know, it’s the common things like having faith. I think having faith is probably one of the first thing you learn when accepting Christ. After having faith it was about knowing what grace is, understanding it, how that apply to our lives and what that means for us in terms of what Jesus did on the cross. There’s also the lesson of obedience and this idea of not just listening to God’s Word, but actually doing it (like it says in James 1:22.)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. — James 1:22 (ESV)
Now I feel like with raising support the lesson has really been trust. Trusting in God to provide, trusting in God to work in His timing. I found myself freaking out about a situation where someone expressed interest in wanting to join my support team, by time kept flying by and I didn’t receive a notification that the support was receive. Long story short, the support finally came in, but in that moment I showed how much trust I lacked in God. “Oh ye of little faith,” right? In the grand scheme of things I didn’t even wait that long. I understand some people wait longer for things (i.e. Abraham and Sarah not being able to conceive a child for the better part of their lives). And even though I am inclined to credit those people with a good excuse to be a worried, I won’t because I know we are still called to trust.
I feel like God keeps recycling these bigger picture lessons and in them we learn how to apply them to the little, everyday things in our lives. For some of us, if it’s not one of the things listed above, maybe it’s the idea of stewardship and being good with our resources, not just of your finances, but being a good steward of your time and really understanding all of the things you set your time to are things you find meaningful or important.
There’s also the idea of loving your neighbors as you love yourself. One of the verses that always impacts me is:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. — 1 Peter 4:8
Wow! It’s great to have a bigger picture idea to love. And if I can focus on that theme then I can eliminate trying to memorize all these smaller deeds. Jesus commanded in the book of Mark, ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And there are a lot of little things that go under that, but He was addressing the bigger picture. Along with loving your neighbor we see love as a recurring theme in our lives with the different people we interact with as we live on.
I don’t know if you are at a place where you needed to learn a million lessons (or follow a million rules) in the course of 70 or 80 years. You don’t. What you need to be concerned about is the idea of having these general lessons and learning how to apply those to the different parts of your life. I think if we should all be really intentional about it, really sit down and check ourselves and really stay in the Word (which is a great resource in the open book test of life).
I hope this is encouraging to hear. It helps me to know that my faith isn’t just horizontally shallow, but there is depth. My life will revolve around only several things to remember and to master only a handful of things with each new stage in my life and each new challenge the days bring. What helps even more is knowing that it’s not all up to you or me. God is helping us through it.
So I dare you to look at your life and see how these bigger themes play into specific areas where you are feeling challenged. How do you demonstrate love in a broken relationship? How do you trust God in a time of financial troubles? What are ways of sharing your faith with the people around you?