I've been reading a biography of Rick Warren call "Prophet of Purpose". It's written by Jeffrey L. Sheler. It's a good read, at least it was for me.
In the book Sheler writes about Rick's wife Kay. Kay became a 'seriously disturbed women' went God ripped off her suburan, evangelical, soccer mom blindfolds. For the first time she was able to see a whole world filled with hurting people. Her life took on renewed purpose and sense of mission.
Rick Warren, himself, had a moment when he was also wrecked by God.He was reading Psalm 72, a prayer of Solomon. Solomon, as we know, was rich and powerful beyond description. "He prays, God I want you make me more influential. I want you to bless me and give me more power. I want you to make me famous. I want you to spread the fame of my name to many nations."
And why was Solomon praying this? It was so the king (Solomon)"may support the widow and orphan, care for the poor, defend the defenseless, lift up the fallen, release the captive, help the foreigner, and the immigrant.
Warren say, God basically said to me. The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence."
Wake up calls. One to a soccer mom who was living an insular existence. Another to a pastor whom God had blessed with influence. Together, they became an even greater force for good galvanizing God's people to open their eyes and to take action.
Ever wonder if you need a wake-up call? My guess is that most of us would argue that we're pretty self-aware, pretty savvy, and fairly knowledgeable. That's where we fool ourselves. Our self-awareness is always limited, we're savvy about and knowledgeable about some things but when push comes to shove we really have to admit that we close ourselves off, we put boundaries up, and we narrow our possibilities.
Now, there's nothing wrong with focus, good boundaries, and choosing to do what's doable. I'm all for it. Wish more people would get focused and start doing God's work. But in the midst of that how willing are we to let God in, to wreck our plans, and to challenge us to be influential in ways that we can't even imagine?
I've been thinking about this lately. At church we're preaching the Advent Conspiracy. Ugh. The challenge of worshipping more fully, spending less, giving more and loving all rattles my carefully constructed cage. Why didn't we choose something a bit less edgy like give God what you can, do less, go into debt and love those who look and act like you? Hey, I know how to do all that.
Nope. Not God's way. He starts talking about getting disturbed, and praying for more influence and using whatever wealth we have so that it can be used to help others.
You know, the love of God, working itself out in our lives is a good thing. But it demands that we pray to have our blindfolds ripped off. And that probably means that we go places, to people we have religiously avoided. And it means that we might have to be used in places that don't have the appearance of safety and actually feel risky. That's because love always goes to those kind of places. It's there that we get to use our influence to speak up for those who don’t have any. And may I say allowing them to influence us.
In the meantime God places us, during this holiday season, smack dab into the mission field of family and friends. May He give us all the grace to love others in ways we never before imagined. Christmas brings out the best and the worst in people. There's lots of hurts in our immediate families, in our neighborhoods, and with co-workers. Maybe we can be used in some ways to bring a little light, sanity, and love into the lives of those we know well.