Your encouragement of me as a writer and thinker has been kind and generous. Thank you so much for our conversations, your gentle words of challenge, and your constancy in showing up each month to engage with the devotions I have written. I am grateful. As you’ve probably guessed, I want to tell you the time has come for me to move on. I feel a tender prompting in my soul to step away from Life for Leaders as a writer, and spend time as a reader of the words shared by other writers. The decision is mine, alone. For me, this season is complete. It has been a gift and honor to share this space with you.
Their conversation was drowned out by the wind and the sound of the sea and the call of seagulls overhead. If I close my eyes right now, I can take myself right back there. And I know, without being there, that the wind is still blowing, the sea is still churning, and the gulls are still calling out to one another. I know it, even though I cannot see it. Thanks be to God.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (Acts 1:10-11)
We’ve all made that same mistake at some point in our lives. I know I have. I’ve forgotten that every good and perfect gift is from God. My work, my friendships, my community, my church, my future, my home, my health, and all the rest. All of it is God’s.
When I was disciplined as a child, that discipline never served to separate me from my family or to change the status of my relationship to them. When my timeout had been completed, or when my grounding was finally over, I was welcomed back into my family with open arms, the punishment and its inciting incident behind us all, and the lessons learned weaving their way into the fabric of my world view for years to come.
Confrontation is a sticking point for many people. Upon reaching an impasse with someone in our family, our workplace, our neighborhood, our church, we’d much rather avoid than confront. It feels easier to sweep the event under the rug or to press it down inside of us. At face value, this seems like the less painful option.
More often than not, however, the thing just won’t let us go. Each time we see that person or think of them, the impasse rises up to meet us. Thank God He has given us clear instructions for moments such as these.
Maybe you’ve heard people in your workplace express some version of the adage that says, “I’d rather ask forgiveness than permission.” It’s a witty expression, and it points to a desire to just go ahead and get something done, without having to go through the bureaucratic channels established by an organization.
Culture making is a sacred reflection of the God-in-us. Culture making is our response to God’s call to humanity to cultivate the world we’ve been given. Culture is what we are making, in our day-to-day interactions and through the work of our hands.
I think we’d all agree there comes a time when we look at all the stuff we’ve accumulated and we either decide to build a bigger barn or face the fact that we’ve accumulated more than we could ever want or need. When that happens, what should we do? Apparently, according to the passage today, building a bigger barn is probably not the best, first choice. I’m not saying we need to give everything away, or pile a mountain of clothing on our beds. But how do we keep from wanting a bigger barn?
I have had the jobs that are passion-less rituals of meetings and projects and lunches and annual reviews and disappointing but acceptable raises and days filled with mindlessness. That kind of work has its positives (hello, benefits), but never enough to make me want to jump out of bed in the morning. Maybe you’ve had a job like that, too. Maybe you’re in one, now? If so, maybe it’s out of necessity, and I think there’s something to that. But I do hope and pray for passion, too.