It’s amazing how we can think too little or too much. We can think about a desire or idea to the point of it’s suffocation or we can move on it without letting it fully form – to it’s demise.
God has given us these two pieces of counsel:
“Desire without knowledge is not good – how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” Proverbs 19:2 NIV
“Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 NCV
Personality assessments tell us that we tend to be either more impulsive or more contemplative. Aside from “personality” theory I think, from all the stories I’ve heard over the years, we are predominately contemplative…or perhaps more accurately hesitant, suppressed, idle or passive.
I ran across this thought from Oswald Chamber in The moral foundation of life : A series of talks on the ethical principles of the Christian life:
“We are not meant to spend our lives in the domain of intellectual thinking. A Christian’s thinking ought never to be in reflection, but in activities. The philosopher says, “I must isolate myself and think things out”; he is like a spider who spins his web and only catches flies. We come to right discernment in activities; thinking is meant to regulate the doing….Think of the time we waste in talking to God and in longing to be what He has already made us instead of doing what He has told us to do!
Perhaps the increased understanding we desire about our life and calling can only be found in it’s offering (“activities”). Perhaps we are stuck, not for a lack of understanding, but for lack of initiated movement. Perhaps instruction will come as we create motion, as with a CD of beautiful music that cannot be heard or perceived until it begins to spin.
As I am writing these thoughts, I am reminded of the verse:
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Let’s offer together what we have at this moment, be it a little or a lot, and let it begin.
“Though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” Job 8:7 NRSV
Thanks for the encouraging words Gary. The scripture from Zechariah is something we all need to hear, and hear often.
Our small beginnings and steps are pleasing to God. He likes to see things put into motion. Man, that is awesome!
It’s amazing the power of the world’s philosophy of “go big or go home”. Small beginnings are glorious beginnings.
Again, this is confirmation for me… I did hear things about bringing this message to Minnesota, and I heard learn it, train in it, walk in it… But! Be energetic! In fact, double your efforts! (Efforts include training)…
Philippians 2 (Message)
12 -13 What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
14 -16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
17 -18 Even if I am executed here and now, I’ll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ’s altar, a part of your rejoicing. But turnabout’s fair play—you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.
19 -24 I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
This is good Randy. It was great being with you last weekend at the Exploration Calling Intensive Experience.
Thank you for the Clarity in motion insights Gary. It opens up alot of issues. Reminds me of the two things the children of Israel heard before they crossed the Jordan. They heard a word from the Lord and then went and got their feet wet. Knowing my core desires (from my redeemed heart) and the stirring of His Spirit plus my relational history and journey with Him gives me the clarity and the conviction to respond to the moment, the individual. I think as we get our feet wet in where his stirring is, however small or seemingly mundane, it changes our whole mindset and perspective. Your Noble Heart stuff has been major in sustaining my journey in an ever increasing struggle with contemporary views of ‘professionalised’ ministry. The Lord bless and keep you my brother. Nigel Mohammed
Guilty as charged! Most times I have set aside as times to “think”, it’s been more of daydreaming, wondering, pondering to the conclusion of very little. I know we have to think about our past and recall our steps and turning points, but maybe this is more active, intensive and focused thinking, that is, behind it a REAL desire to move forward in action, so we aren’t caught staring at the sky for hours and hours, but rather thinking hard and brief, then taking the next step with the info we do have.
Gary, this is so true and I am realizing it in my life. It is critical to spend time with God, but so often I don’t just go ahead and act on what has been revealed to me – I think I have to figure out all the details first, when most of the time He wants me to DO something so He can take me to the next step. More often than not (in fact most of the time)when I do act, it turns out to be completely different than what was expected, but it was a critical step towards my calling. (and I was pleasantly suprised!)
I wanted to offer something I recently read: In The Transforming Friendship author Leslie Weatherhead describes friendship…
“If my friend’s mother in a distant town falls ill and urgently desires to visit her, which would reveal deeper freindship-my lending him my motorcycle in response to his request for it, or my taking it to his door for him as soon as I heard of the need, without being asked? In the first case there has to be a request made with a voice. But in the second the fact of the friendship creates in me a longing to help. The first illustrates the communion between two persons on what might be called the level of the seen; but the second illustrates the communion, at a deeper level, of two persons on what we may call the level of the unseen.”
Author Dallas Willard says: “In many cases our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in his work”
Personaly I recently was able to address a long standing wrong done by my father in my family. As I contemplated what action to enact I at last arrived at a plan and enacted it. When I corrected the oversight that caused the pain I was deeply thanked by one and unacknowledged by two others. It reminded me of the single leper who came back to thank Jesus. Nevertheless I am glad I acted to do good when it was within my power.
May God continue to bless your ministry.
Your brother seeking his calling.
Jim, thank you. That was really good. Really. Very helpful.
This is so, so good! I’ve been processing very similar thoughts about how much more processing is necessary on the subject of calling and when it’s time to get on with living out of a sense of calling. It can start seeming like I’ve reached the point of paralysis from over-analysis. It’s experiencing life with Him that gets me to where I need to be with Him and in the flow of His plan. Analysis then can be useful reinforcement of what’s already in motion.
Thanks for speaking this to us. Needed it.
Really enjoy the thoughts about small beginnings…taking those first steps. One of the things I have learned from your teachings is that we do live in a story. We are never meant to be just one place, that our story ebbs and flows and changes as God moves with us.
Personally, I tend to find myself in that contemplative mode too often and too long….maybe waiting for that “right” moment to take that next step.
Great comment I saw the other day, “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.”
Really got me thinking that even a small step is step forward and those small steps are all part of our journey.
Peace and blessings!
Great Gary, I was just thinking how inviting a campsite is after being on the trail all day, and how uninviting it is after being there too long. Maybe we’ve been sucked into thinking that this contemplative way of life is where it’s at. The most appealing things in life usually are on the trail,the adventures, and not staring at the compass in camp. Yea you need to look at the compass, but it’s get a fix and move forward.
I ran across this quote from Soren Kierkegaard today:
“What I lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know ….The thing is to understand myself,to see what God really wished me to do…To find the idea for which I can live and die.”
Since attending your calling retreat in Oregon I am much more aware of my desire to discover “what I am to do”.
I am focusing my prayers, thoughts and actions to make changes, release habits or thoughts that slow me down and take steps for freedom to pursue my calling.
I can feel the mist beginning to clear and at the same time I have taken steps towards an early retirement to pursue what God wants me to do.
I am now 20% closer to that end and in 6 months I am optimistic that I can be another 20% closer.
You and others have helped me to discover “my compass” as in Mr. Holland’s Opus.
Fantastic perspective. That American-like idea — “Go big, or go home” — can kill initiative. Small can become big. Lack of initiative cannot. Thanks for the inspiration!
Well put, Brian. Thanks.
Beautiful Gary. Thanks for the encouraging word!