Friday, October 8, 2010

Pocket Knife Humility

Ethan, for a very long time wanted a pocket knife - like crazy. Finally, through a woops at Target, landed himself a desired tool that was not only a knife but a spoon and fork also. He felt - good. Really - really - good about his new lease on life.

We knew when his pocket was loaded because his walk changed into a nice overly confident strut. He went on and on telling us all of the outlandish things he'd do with his new tool. We grew wearisome of the constant pocket knife chatter. It was all he could think about. Sometimes we tried to gently bring him back to reality, "Uhm, E, I don't think your knife will be able to slice a duck's throat or cut down a tree." His mind was set, though, and he was sure we were underestimating.

The best thing to do in a situation like this with a very zealous Ethan is to let him try it. So we took E to a woodsy area in Eagan. Jason said, "If you can catch a duck you can slice his throat and cut down a tree." With spirits flying higher than ever and the possibilities so close at hand, he walked ahead feeling full of power.

Shortly into our stroll there stood a tree that caught his imagination, "Dad, do you think I can cut this tree down."

"Uhm, no E."

"I bet you're wrong."

"Try it, son."

With a flip-switch we beheld our eight year old's great efforts. Back and forth this speedy red knife passionately soared but it didn't even cut into the bark. I mean not even a little bit.

With bewildered eyes our son connected with ours and said in a humbled spirit, "Huh, I guess not."

Our saying for such moments as these has been, "I just realized my pocket knife can't cut that tree." Sometimes reality brings us back to earth. We are humbled and our perception is shattered, our passionate vision is brought down into the valley.

It's not that we shouldn't capture a vision or possess large passions. Quite contrary.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
ephesians 3:20,21

I think as Christians we should live large on the promises of God - capturing His very large vision for His Kingdom enterprises but the challenge then is always, "How do I work this out in the real everyday tasks of life?" We don't live on the mountain top where we objectively observe His unfolding story. We don't live 20 feet away from the mosaic. No, we live right up next to it and we are only a1"x1" contributing piece. We live, labor and love in the everyday.

We had the challenge of writing down His vision for Haiti and our hearts for missions in a support letter. How do you capture the culminating work of God in our hearts for missions? How do you capture His heart for the World, the orphan, the poor, the widow, the lost, etc? How do you express deep, passionate, risk-taking conviction to walk with God in the next season of discipleship? How do you encourage others in their faith to follow Him similarly?

Jason took a whole-hearted attempt at this and we felt good about it. It seemed to capture in a nut shell the way God's direction for Haiti fell on our lives until we "tried" it out. We found out that it read more as an exhortation.

Thank God for the elders that He places over His sheep - to keep a watchful eye. With some good feedback concerning our first attempt at a support letter we bit into reality. "Our pocket knife won't cut down that tree." Embracing humility and being teachable are good lessons. Learning the balance to live in reality with His vision, is good. If the vision and the passion are His then it doesn't mean death to the vision but it does require, "Okay Lord, I can do nothing without you. I am nothing apart from You. This is Your vision how do You want this to work itself out in my daily life?"

1 Peter 5:5-7
"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all of your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

We are thankful for Christian World Outreach's leadership in our lives. Lord knows we need it! :) Here it goes for attempt number two. "If at first you don't succeed. Try - try again!"

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