Written by Mike Wilkins
Sunday, 10 February 2013 19:37
Lately I have been feeling a bit disengaged. From ministry, from the people we meet, and even my team. I wasn’t being (I hope) antisocial to the point of being a disappointment to my team or our contacts, but it was poor stewardship of the ministry opportunities before me. So I prayed for the problem to be gone, because apparently my first response to an issue that I’m causing is to ask God to fix it right up.
There’s a line from the movie Evan Almighty that always stuck out to me. While the movie isn't the greatest source of theological truths as a whole, I think this particular line is thought provoking. Morgan Freeman (God) is talking about how if someone prays for patience, do they think they’ll just wake up with patience or they’ll be given opportunities to be patient. Same deal for love, pride, and other such issues. If we prayed for patience, and simply woke up a more patient person, where would the personal growth be?
As an example, no great musician is great by chance. They were probably born with a good sense of rhythm, or an ear that’s finely tuned, but they certainly worked to attain their great musicianship. I think that’s just the way things work in life. So by asking God to magically grant us some good quality that we desire, we’re not only asking God to go against the nature of things (and therefore, His nature), but the next time an issue comes up, we’d just ask for more God magic. Where's the growth? If a parent gives a child everything he/she requested, would they end up being spoiled or having a firm grasp on the importance of “things”?
So back to my disengagement. We just spent a few days at a retreat with middle school aged kids. We got there, and they put us on different “teams” with the kids in groups of two. Later, they mentioned splitting off into our teams to do an activity in which, “each team has been given two adult leaders, and they’ll know what to do”. “Great”, I thought, “who are the adults on my team I wonder?” Soon thereafter it dawned on me that we were the group leaders who “knew what to do”.
If that retreat wasn’t an opportunity for me to engage, then I don’t know what is. We spent those few days working with the kids all the time on various activities. It was crazy, stressful, and altogether really fun. This was my opportunity for engagement. I am thankful for the answer to my prayer, and thankful that God gave me an opportunity for growth and not an easy way out of my problems.