Most people don’t like being thought of as “weird” or “different.” Unless we’re creative artists or technology geeks, we tend to do our best to march to the same drummer as everyone around us. And even artists and geeks, perceived from the outside, all seem to be dancing to more or less the same beat as each other … it’s just not the same one as the rest of us. Every tribe has its own rhythm.
The Holy Spirit can disrupt life
Yesterday, Pastor Terry talked about how hard it is to let God, by the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit, take us out of lockstep into a new adventure. He described just one small moment he’d experienced during the week at our Methodist pastors conference.
Pastor has told our congregation about his early years in ministry, when he felt intensely driven to push his congregations to greater heights of spirituality. Eventually he realized that God does the driving and he was wearing himself out trying to do work that was way above his pay grade and any human’s spiritual competence. So he settled back into a more appropriate routine, attempting to discern which parts of the job God was going to do and which parts God expected him to accomplish himself.
Jonah took to the sea, pastor escaped to …
During the pastors conference, Pastor Terry says he felt strongly moved to tell this story to the gathering. But he felt strongly constrained by the circumstances not to do so.
“It wasn’t my event,” he says. “I wasn’t in charge. So I did what anyone would do under the circumstances. I hid in the bathroom.”
But you can only wash your hands so many times. And when Pastor finally came out, the event’s hosts were asking for testimonies.
That removed his excuses. He told his story and afterward, five of his colleagues thanked him for sharing it. Five. There were at least five ministers in the room who were ready to be reminded that God would do the heavy lifting if they’d just get out of the way — and that, by the way, the lifting was too heavy for them to do anyway.
Well, that was weird … and wonderful
To really understand how unusual it is for Pastor Terry to step out of line, I need to give you a visual of the man. Pressed khaki slacks. Blue button-down oxford cloth shirt. A shock of neatly trimmed silver hair, always in place. It’s not that he’s humorless or inapproachable — far from it. But he and his wife are conservative is the good, old-fashioned sense of the word. Their home is beautifully furnished with mostly found goods. They are both intraverts in what many imagine to be an extrovert’s career. They just live quietly and in peace with people.
So it’s easy to imagine Pastor wanting to hide instead of speaking out of turn.
Just as it’s easy to live in hiding rather than step out of line.
But where would the world be if that tiny clan of early Christians had failed to “turn the world upside down”?
And look where we are now as we fail to live likewise?
Is God giving you an opportunity to serve that would require stepping outside the lines? What’s holding you back?