Thursday, August 02, 2007
Another self-portrait taken while I was setting up the camera for a group shot.
Learning language is always hard work. I am finding that motivation is coming more slowly as I begin learning my fourth language (besides English), but with each lesson I get a little more excited that it is doable. I have been surprised at how many words in Turkish and Uzbek are either similar or the same. However, the pronuciation is so different that I usually have no idea what I am hearing, even though if I see it in writing I would understand most of it. I find it very funny that while learning Kazak, I was never told that I had a Kazak accent. I always sounded like a foreigner. But when we started learning Uzbek, I was told I spoke it with a Kazak accent. So I somehow acquired a Kazak accent after I left Kazakstan. And now that I am in Turkey I am finding that I am speaking Turkish with an Uzbek accent, which I never had in Uzbekistan. And the major tragedy in all of this language experience is that since I moved to California in 1991, I have lost my southern accent, which I will somehow need to re-acquire if I am going to understand God when He speaks to me in Heaven!
And now onto more serious matters...
The prophet Jeremiah often says that, "the Word of the Lord came to me." When I read this recently I started thinking about how often the servants God uses were seeking Him versus just doing their own thing when He chose them. A quick study shows that most of them were not seeking to be used by Him and some (Moses is the best example) were not excited about the "call". However, most obeyed right away. And looking at their lives it is very clear why people were not lining up for the job, as pretty much 100% of them had very difficult lives most ending in martyrdom.
At the same time Jeremiah does say in chapter 29 that those who "seek God with all their heart" will find Him. But I think in this passage He is not talking about seeking to be a servant as much as seeking to know and obey and walk in His path (obedience).
This lead me to think about both my "calling" as well as how we generally go about it today with mobilizers and the like. A whole industry has developed to help people find what Jesus is "calling/inviting" them to do. What is driving it? Why has it developed? Is it good, bad, or neutral? I am a product of it as are most people I know, so what does that mean? Where do we draw the line between "making the most of the opportunity/using our resources to their fullest" and waiting, listening, walking with the Spirit? Do they have to conflict? When do they conflict?
We have passion conferences and Urbana and many similar events. We are encouraged to pray about what God has for us to do. What is He calling me to? How can I serve? How am I gifted? and so on. As often as not in the Bible, however, people were just doing their thing- farming, shepherding, worshipping, searching for a lost donkey, sleeping, working, fishing,... when BAM! out of nowhere God steps in and says, "I have a job for you." or "Follow me." or "Who will go for us?" or "I want you to be king." or "Go and tell the people of Judah to repent." Most of them were not searching for it, were not even thinking about it; and they were in the perfect place for God to use them. Corrie Ten Boom is probably a good modern example.
I think of books I have enjoyed like, Don't Waste Your Life by Dr. John Piper. I was encouraged and challenged by his words. But were most of the people listed above "wasting their life"? Are we discouraging people or making them feel like lesser disciples if they "just" do their job and raise their family? Is that right? Or when is it right and when is it not right? Lots to think about... May we all be where God wants us.