Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Here's another item from the "Christian books I've recently read" department: Jean Fleming's Between Walden and the Whirlwind is for the busy Christian who's fed up with not being able to get her life in order. Not because the book solves your organization problems once and for all (how many books, Christian and secular alike, have made that claim?), but because it helps you come to peace with disorganization. More specifically, it emphasizes accepting that the ultimate order of life is in God's hands alone, and that our best planning skills--or intentions--can't earn us the right to grab the controls.

"Jesus has not asked me to have it all together," writes the author. "Here on earth no one arrives. All Christians are en route.... Even after we get God's direction for our life... we sometimes end up living out God's will to the wrong audience [ashamed to admit, even to fellow Christians, that God has called us only to "humble" tasks].... In our ardor to serve, we often overlook a critical truth: The servant doesn't choose his task. Our concept of serving God may be doing what we would like to do--for God. We tell God what we'll do for Him, and what we won't do; where we'll go for Him, and where we won't go. We even tell Him what mustn't interfere with our plans to serve Him" (1985 hardback edition, pp. 17, 31, 88).

Can you say "Ouch!"?

However obviously a task seems to be "God's work," God will not be pleased if it is done in a prideful spirit. This doesn't apply only to the "showy piety" Jesus condemns in Mt. 6; it includes deliberate or thoughtless disregard for seeking God's will in our decisions. How many times do we rationalize something just has to be God's will for us because we want it so much? ("I've realized my first marriage was really against God's will, so the only Christian thing to do is end it and be united with the person God wanted me to marry in the first place.") Some of us even presume to tell others what God's will is for them: "I don't care if you prayed about it with fasting for three weeks, dear; I'm your mother, and I know God couldn't possibly want you to take a dangerous job like that." "You have to marry me; God told me we're meant to be together, even if He didn't tell you." But true servanthood is being willing to accept God's will as He reveals it, not to try to change it to fit our wishes or our logic.

Where would we be now if Jesus had convinced Himself the Cross was not God's will?

Lord, I would like so much
To do great things for You:
But may "greatness" not overwhelm my power
To stay humble through and through.

Lord, I have glorious plans;
My heart is full of dreams;
But may they come true only if their glow
Never blinds to Your Truth's gleams.

Lord, minds so quickly stray
When they have pride to chase;
If I turn away, please do trip me up,
Lest I fail in faith's great race.

Lord, I still long to stand
With those who can achieve:
But please never let me achieve those things
That would weaken my belief.

Lord, all my days are Yours:
May what I gain and do
Never be so great as to tempt to pride,
Or distract my eyes from You.

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