Dreamers of the Day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible." -T.E. Lawrence, "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Do you love Me?"

My favorite gospel is the book of John. I think it is because of the humility and heart of Jesus that is revealed as well as the language. It is in the book that one finds the reinstating of Peter in chapter twenty-one.

Peter is the disciple I find myself most like. I can be passionate for something when I don't know the expectations of the call and run when the expectations are voiced. I can be a strong leader at times, not wavering in my defense of my Savior, only to run when standing for Him will cost my life. I can trust Him easily only to doubt Him in the very next second. Peter is transparent in the gospels, letting his depravity and brokenness out while following this person he calls Master and Lord.

In this chapter, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" Peter responds "yes" and Jesus says something to the effect of "help or feed my sheep". And this is what has inspired me:

Recently, it seems my knowledge and definition of love has been rediscover and revealed to me in a different way. I have always been very sensitive to this subject and love (no pun intended) learning about this. My greatest litmus test is my closest friends, family and enemies. If I cannot love them, then I don't even try to love others. I work very hard at this and if I cannot resolve issues in these circles, then I find in myself a failure to love. However, people change and I change and slowly my heart has drifted from this point until recently.

I have always been involved in serving in some form or fashion. Growing up with a father who was a pastor of a small church, the pastor or his family was expected to do everything. We were always setting up or tearing down something. We were always helping out. I had this notion ingrained in me at a young age and now it is a perfunctory task. While in Dallas, I have served vast amounts of people. God has shifted and moved me toward varying walks of life and to write about all the interactions with the many different people would take hours. It has truly been a blessing to meet the very different people I have met, but the reasons why I am doing this are being distilled in me. In serving others at a early age, I found myself thinking I am not selfish at all. Then, especially while I have been in Dallas, my heart and depravity of it has slowly been revealed to me. My selfishness and pride in serving has taken a life of its own and a secretive one at that. It can live and move while flying under the radar of "grotesque sins" because it is "good, sweet and helpful." I can pour hours of my time and energy in the betterment of X individual and never even question my motive in the first place.

Now, that motive is being question by my Savior. In fact, EVERY motive is and when I sit and ponder my actions, my sin has tainted every action I take. When I ponder this, a scene in the movie Independence Day comes to mind. It is when the humans have gone and dreadfully bombed the aliens with nuclear warfare only to find the aliens still remaining. The aliens repelled the greatest attack only to be reported by the army in the great line I love: "Negative sir. The target still remains. I repeat, the target still remains." When I find myself fighting, disciplining, perfecting, working, serving and "growing" in this Christian life, the revelation of my depravity still surprises me. "What?!?!?!? How could I have such sin in my life?" So it is my typical reaction then to fix the problem and move on because Christianity is progressive like the rest of the world and I must move forward.

But I can't.

I am completely incapable of doing anything without sin. Every thought, deed or action, even my prayers, seem to be tainted with this thing I despise. And thus I am humbled at the fact that I am a Christian. This is such basic truth in the Christian faith which reveals the place at which I am at. "It's not what you know, but who you know" is a popular phrase in the corporate or "professional" world, and such is the case in the spiritual world. I do not follow Christ because I have been qualified and I am a strong person who can "hang with Him." I follow Him, I need Him, because I am a sinner. Not yesterday. Not twelve years ago. Not tomorrow, but in the present. I can "sell all my gifts to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned. But without love, it profits me nothing." I am just a big bell, trying to get attention and love when the Person I was created for is offering His freely.

It is at this point that John twenty-one hits me. Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. At the basic response of "I do" from Peter, then Jesus gives him a task. This is the process in which to follow. If you love Jesus, then go and serve, and not the other way around. For if you reverse the process, then all hell will break lose. I find this true in my own life. Without my Savior's love, I can twist every "ministry" action, gift, talent and asset to be used for my glory. I am a sinner and will sin when I reject Christ's love. But, if I am moved by this great love, I can do all things without guilt or expectations or greed. Regardless of my heart, His will is revealed, but when I am moved by His love, it is easier for me to move others while pointing to Him. In child like fashion, it is the love of a Savior that renovates the heart of a sinner and moves him to pour himself out for others. It is in this love that all other "problems" or issues are resolved or fade to grey. I was created to love and be love and when I receive God's love, it brings me life.


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