Eight years ago, I sat in Edward Jones Dome with some 20,000+ mission-minded Christians listening to Brenda Salter-McNeil tell me that where I settle is where I’ll die. When I settle for the comforts of the places where God didn’t call me to be, I will suffer the consequences of unfulfilled calling, because He intends for me to move–to lift my feet and go. I haven’t rested, I can’t rest, and I will not rest because where I am is not where I want to die.
There was a time where I felt like I could die and that would be alright (s/o to semi-charmed life), but that was a long time ago and the memories of that time feel like dreams; vivid in my sleep, but murky when I’m awake. I’ve since been undone, and the process that began as a small nick has ended in complete upheaval. I’m ready to stay on the move, and I’m ready to to push forward.
There’s an impetus for me to take upon my shoulders the weight that those before me bore, and with my toil, honor their sacrifices in comfort, stability and safety. We must continue to press forward with conviction in the small and big things, from preaching on the rooftops to feeding the widows fairly. The nature of the gospel is in a truth that is timeless, but the practicum is in motion.
If you’ve ever sat with me as I’ve driven from place to place, or if you’ve ever caught me in one of my manic frenzies of labor, you know how I feel about momentum. It’s hard to push the ball off it’s settling place, so we have to keep it rolling. There will be a time for rest, but the inertia of this comfortable world, are enough to keep us in Harran until the end.
The past few weeks, I’ve become obsessed with cleaning up our church. Maybe it’s because I’m restless. Maybe because I have that feeling ingrained in me by my mother to clean up before having people over, and by the mission my Lord has given me, I do plan on having people over. There are the occasional resistances. Poor color choices. Things were fine the way they were. Time and money are better spent elsewhere. It’s not a permanent solution. The familiar trappings of gravity that drives our heels into the ground until they’re hard to lift again.
I don’t want to ever be callous to criticism. I hear a lot in seminary that pastors need thick skin. That’s not the pastor I want to be. I want the softest skin. I want to feel every stinging word. If I’m steering a ship, I need to be willing to change that direction at the drop of a hat if that’s what is necessary for my people. But I will not relent. I will not stop fueling the engine that pushes us deeper in fellowship, stronger in the Word, broader in community engagement.
Small steps beget the big ones, but sometimes the small steps are scarier. Being big doesn’t make a step hard. Being first does. Today, I will keep pushing forward. I will not settle, I will not die here.