Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (I Corinthians 10:16-17 NIV)
Paul is highlighting an important idea regarding the holistic nature of Christ’s call. There should be no compartmentalizing of the secular and sacred areas of one’s life. God does not look at his children and see a distinction between those in ministry and those in normal jobs. Instead, he calls each one of his followers to live in communion with Him right where they are in their normal life every moment of the day.
At one point in my life, I thought that having a job in full-time Christian ministry capacity was a higher calling than any “other” job. For someone in a secular job to have that mentality is potentially lazy! Instead, God wants people who are transformed by His love, and actively care for the hurting people all around them.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered… -Hebrews 5:7-8 NIV
Reverent submission doesn’t mean no emotion. Jesus was able to be reverent while showing His emotion to God. It is natural for people to show emotion when thinking (or speaking/acting out) about their passions. If an outsider were to judge my passions by watching my prayers, they might conclude that I am not passionate for the things that I am praying for. They might just see a quiet list of requests and praises being recited.
Now if the Green Bay Packers were playing for the NFC Championship (as they did not so effectively last month), the same viewer would see crazy emotion being expressed for a football team. My prayers need a jump-start!
I vividly remember passionate times of morning prayer on the rooftop of the convent next to St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hyderabad, India during the summer of 1998. It was one of those mountain-top experiences. I was pouring every ounce of energy I had into the Indian people that I was working with that summer. My passion for them could be heard in those morning prayers. I would like to live everyday with that kind of passion, and I would like to pray every prayer in a way that my passions are evident.
Here is the link to my post earlier in the week on Isaiah 53:1-3 on my tumblr site.
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. -Psalm 32:7-10 NLT
This verse leads me to ask myself, “Am I being quiet enough to hear the direction of the Lord?” During this season of Lent, I am trying to cut out some of the distractions that fill my life up and make it feel busy. For me, this tends to be the processing of extra information. I love my RSS feeds that range from feeds on the environment, to web technology, to international business news, but during this season of Lent, I am trying to limit my the information that I process on a daily basis. I have come to realize that none of this information is a bad thing, but filling my brain with all kinds of distracting information leaves a lot less room for processing the things of God.
Pastor Joel Schmidgall spoke on fasting this past Sunday, and he likened information overload to white noise. White noise is when you have power at all sound frequencies making it nearly impossible to distinguish any individual sound frequency. It is so easy in life to be listening to multiple distractions at one time and miss the voice of the Lord leading you in your life. Being a Gen-Yer, I have come of age in the world of IMs, social networks, RSS feeds, internet radio, digital cable, on-demand everything; sometimes it is hard to turn down those frequencies just to be quiet.
Seven years ago I had an extreme sports accident that placed me on bed rest for six weeks. During that time, I felt was impressed by the Lord that I was to use that time to wait on Him. To this day I feel that God used that time in my life to force me to slow down and listen to His voice. I hope that I can train myself to listen in all circumstances. Hopefully it won’t take six weeks of bed rest to get my attention the next time around!