Monday, March 14, 2005

Knowing When

I'm still waiting to get my car repaired...not even repaired, I only want a mirror replaced...but the body shop told me they gave me a wrong estimate, we dickered a little and I came up on price, they came down but I assumed they'd get the part they needed today. I was tired after work so I didn't want to wait for their call. I called them...they called me back...told me they'd call back again later. I took a nap....they didn't call, so I waited for a while longer and then called back.

Hopefully we'll get it all worked out tomorrow.

This has been a recurring thought in mind lately...this idea of knowing when the time is right to do certain things...draw boundaries, say goodbyes, take on new work...take chances.

I suppose these thoughts are because there are a lot of areas of our lives in limbo. Amy's health is much, much better...but not we live a little on the edge of worry and there are some aspects of her health she finds frustrating if not flat out maddening.

The kids are all grown up and need us less, yet we seem to need them more.

Portions of my job are in a state of flux and more could be on the horizon.

The weather is changing too...becoming a little less consistent as we enter the season of spring, which often lasts for about seven hours in San Antonio...then summer arrives with unrelenting vigor.

I believe our church is experiencing a new season as well.

Amy and I went out to the church property Sunday afternoon, her to plant flowers and me to do some mowing. The church has purchased a new lawnmower...a real lawnmower, finally not the cheapest lawnmower you can buy. This one has some horsepower, it is built for someone taller than the tallest person in China since Yao Ming left, plus it is "self propelled."

I felt like I was driving a new car for the first time...I mean a real nice new car, like when your rich relative lets you drive their Cadillac with all the fancy stuff, cruise control and power everything. I was mowing over areas I hadn't been over in years simply because I knew I could. In recent years I avoided mowing most of those little used parts of the property because I knew the amount of energy I would have had to expend would sap what I needed to mow the primary areas around the church. I burrowed down an old road on the side of our church land that leads to a clearing. In that clearing, long before we built our church building, we would occasionally come and hold service.

We once piled rocks in an altar before which Gordon preached. The rocks are still there, along with a lot of memories and more cactus than you can imagine.

I thought about the families that have come and gone from our church since that time. People whose lives led them elsewhere - either through circumstance, spiritual growth, family crisis, and occasionally theological difference or indifference.

I also remembered the people who stood with me on that patch of ground whose lives have long since ended.

I thought about our church and its future, and I wondered what it might bring.

Earlier in the day, in Sunday school, we had looked at a portion of the life of John The Baptist and the passage where John watches many of his own disciples leave to follow Jesus, yet John stays behind saying, "He must increase and I must decrease."

It struck me then how odd that must have been. Here is this wild man who has been proclaiming the coming of the very Son of God and then there He is! He knows it...he points his followers directly at Him and says, "Behold the Lamb of God!" but then John doesn't follow Him.


You've spent your whole life preparing a path for the Son of the very Creator of the universe and then you stand and watch Him walk away...taking a bunch of your friends with Him?

That's what he did. He let Jesus continue His journey and John stayed behind.

He stayed and kept on baptizing people.

He kept doing the work God called him to do.

Many people come through our church doors, but I suspect we will never grow very large- that's not our calling.

For some we are a waypoint...for others we are the final stop on a long journey of faith.

I think about our church, and really all of us as individuals, and wonder if we are not to a small extent like John the Baptist...called to do what God has asked of us, and nothing more.

If we can remain faithful and true to what God called us to do, I suppose there is no sense worrying about the timing.