Saturday, May 06, 2006

T4G: Some Personal Reflections...

I have been mulling over T4G this week and trying to decide how to summarize my experience there.

Let me back up.

About 9 months ago I started thinking a lot about the day of my death. Not in a morbid fashion, but in the manner of Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions... like #9. “Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death. The purpose of this kind of thinking was to clarify things – what does my life really amount to in the end?

I have been extremely busy with many good and enjoyable opportunities: pastoring GFC, teaching at TBS, helping lead the SGF, preparing the Examining Emergent paper and being a dad and husband. But there was something in all that good busyness that was unsettling.

Last Sunday night at GFC I confessed to the folks two sins that came into focus while I was at T4G. Neither of these revelations were prompted by anything in particular at the conference, but more by the whole event along with my thoughts on the brevity of life.

1. I too often replace deep relationship with Jesus with being busy. Wow. Like no one has ever done that before, you say! Ah, but the two go together...

2. I am a proud man.

And I came to see that my pride often drives my busyness. It goes something like this. I give lip service to the fact that my level of influence, the size of my church, etc are all under the direction of God’s sovereign hand. But somewhere, deep inside, this little switch goes off that subtly leads me to believe that I had really better help the Lord out in this recognition and personal fame for me, since He doesn’t seem to be taking care of it so well. Thus, I can get busy. Not busy in the work of the Kingdom, dependent upon the grace of God; but fluttering around in my own strength in the production of wood, hay and stubble.

Someone asked: What is the solution?

Frankly, I am not sure. I am not convinced it is to drop everything and get lazy. I am rather leaning to the conclusion that I simply need to follow the directions I give the men in my seminary class: Never Surrender. Never surrender intimacy with Christ; time in the Word; seasons of prayer; genuine spiritual power; the wise use of time; humility; purity; boldness in the Gospel; and depth in my relationship with the Triune God.

T4G showed me 7 men who do what I do, albeit in different contexts and spheres of influence. Not to take anything away from any of them, but “what do they have that has not been given to them?” The beauty of T4G was the unspoken sense that God will lift up whomever He wills whenever He wills for His great glory alone. It is His fame that I need to seek. Not mine.

May He increase and may I decrease.