So I’m almost done with my first semester.
There’s a lot of scraping by, a lot of missing out on information for the sake of getting the work done. So, you know, usual school stuff. A couple of lessons before I talk about other stuff.
1. Acts 16 taught me not to forget the mission when you think you’re working towards the mission. Paul and Silas didn’t forget that they were there to save souls, including the jailer. So, even when God helped to break them out, they didn’t jump the gun at the cost of the jailer’s life. They fulfilled what they were there to do. I went to seminary to serve QTEC better, it’d be silly if seminary became a reason I couldn’t serve well there.
2. Mentorship is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t always come formally and with commitments. Sometimes it comes over coffee and having a cabinet of dudes you can count on for advice about different topics, but it’s a good thing. Awkward to start, but well worth it.
I’ve been thinking about being above reproach for a while. As I aspire to serve, counsel and lead people, I realize that it’s important for me to a measure of righteousness for both conservative and liberal peoples. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9 outlines what I think has become my focus lately. He says that he becomes all things to all people, that he might win some. I think that may be what I’m trying to do. I may have to lay down my rights for the benefit of the people around me.
In the past few weeks, I’ve given up:
Cigar Smoking (hopefully temporarily)
Coffee Drinking (definitely temporarily)
Tattoo Getting (possibly permanently)
I give these up for numbers of reasons, most recently, my true love–coffee, because I want to be exemplary in self-control and discipline. (Also, so when I say “I can quit anytime,” I have a shred of credibility)
I know that some of the people reading this may look at this attitude of Paul and think, “there goes that oppressive religion again, stifling the individuality and freedoms of another person.” I think at times, I fear that oppression and crushing of my individual spirit. But most times, I feel excited. I feel excited for my liberation from silly needs and want. I am excited about living a life that isn’t just about me.
It sounds scary to modern people that I would suppress my right to advocacy and many other rights, but I believe in a kingdom whose systems are reversed–where those who put others first and themselves last shall be first too. Where putting aside myself can be the most honest expression of myself.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me. In fact, I love me most, and my preferences and desires generally outweigh all others. But maybe I don’t need to fight old chinese people about tattoos and health-conscious people about cigars. I can spend my time loving them instead. And who knows, I might find more freedom than I gave up.