Saturday, June 02, 2012

Love Service, Patient Faith

Revelation 2.18-29

That’s the connection that Scottish theologian William Barclay makes here, based on the words in 2.19: “I know your love, your faith, your service and your patience.” Barclay—who was the early 20th century version of Tom Wright—connects these two pairs. And, for what it’s worth, I think N.T. Wright would too.

There’s only two reasons why I do anything: either because I want to (or I really don’t want to face the consequences of NOT doing it), or because I love someone who wants me to. In either case, I’m serving someone. It’s my love that leads me to serve. The more I love Christ, the more I serve Christ. The more I love myself, the more I only do those things that serve me.

To be honest, I find this part easy. I love him A LOT, and it’s natural for me to connect the dots between loving him and helping others, loving others, serving others, befriending others, crying with others, etc. But I find the other bit absolutely excruciating!

It’s not that I’m impatient per se, it’s just that the instamatic coffee maker takes way too long.

I’m not in a hurry, but school zones are just suggested speeds, right? And those extra-large shoulders on I-94 are supposed to be for passing during rush hour.

Right?

I jest. The real reason I’m impatient in these areas isn’t because of a lack of faith. It’s because I’m a jerk. In other areas, however, the absence of faith is easy to perceive in my lack of patience. For example, I’m impatient with myself and my own personal development. I want to be a better leader NOW, a better teacher NOW, a better friend NOW. I want to conquer my anger TODAY, and curb my disappointments and melancholies THIS INSTANT.

But God isn’t into microwave maturity. He wants to slow boil me into a new man, to put me in the crockpot of Christ and get me done well through the middle. That’s hard for me to want, but I want to want to.

Right now.

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