Flow of Life
By: Jim O'Brien
Do you remember the best time in your life? What were you DOING that made it so good? What time was the most fulfilling? When people are asked to respond to this question on psychological surveys the answers overwhelmingly talk about a time when something was happening. It isn't necessarily a time of great wealth, or the peak of success. In fact, many successful people recall a time of financial struggle. It isn't the plateau. It's the climb.
Your children may be grown-they may be successful with children of their own-but your fondest memories are the times when the children were growing up and may have presented some challenges.
Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as "flow." It's a time of momentum. Maybe there was stress, even fear of failure. But something good was happening.
Ask a mountain climber why he climbs the mountain and he may say, "Because it's there." Why does a race car driver or experimental pilot choose a profession that puts his life at risk? The inherit need to overcome challenging obstacles takes precedence over self-preservation.
Call it flow if you want, but God built into humans something that makes us want to be "doing" things. And it takes faith to trust God to do what must be done.
Once when Jesus invited a man to follow him, the man replied, "...first let me go back and bury my father." Jesus answered, "Let the dead bury their own dead. You go and proclaim the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:59-60). Jesus has a job to do and any person who wants to be a Christian should plan to work. No seat warmers need apply.
God is the God of the living. The Apostle Paul, quoting Isaiah, declares "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15).
What an odd metaphor-feet-to use when referring to preaching the gospel. He seems to be telling us that Christians are alive. We bring good news. We're in the flow of things-like a river of living water.
People who seek life are seeking the God of life. When they find Him, they want to work! Find a congregation that is alive. Choosing a congregation may be akin to a woman choosing a husband. A man looks at a woman and says, "She's beautiful. I could spend the rest of my life with her." A woman looks at a man and says "I want a man who is going somewhere. My wagon is attached to his and a wagon with a dead horse isn't moving."
There's a book called "It's not the big that eat the small, but the fast that eat the slow." I love the title. Someone paraphrased it by saying, "If you're not in a big hurry, you're probably too late!" That may sum up the life of the Apostle Paul and many of the 1st Century Christians. They were outcasts from communities, from families and the existing churches. But they were in a hurry to spread the message and Christianity grew rapidly over the thirty years of Paul's ministry.
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews lists the names of great patriarchs who stood alone without support from any large church. Noah was the only man on earth worthy to be saved from the flood that destroyed the world. Because Abraham was different from the surrounding culture, he was forced to leave his home and his community without even knowing where he was going. Yet he was the man God chose to start the most significant culture of people the world has known. Moses was cast out of Egypt to spend forty years alone in the desert before God would raise him up to lead Israel out of slavery.
These small men moved fast when God called them to act. It is good for us to remember them during this time that Christianity is under attack. There is still work to be done and you don't have to wait for someone else to make it happen. You can connect your life to the One who gives life.
If we want to be about our Father's business, let's forget about size and pick up the speed.
Until next time,
Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati
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