Sunday, February 21, 2010

Men's Retreat pt. 1

This weekend I went to Destin with my church for the Four Oaks Men’s Retreat. The topic was the manly art of Christian living. Not only was I intimidated going into this thing because I still don’t think of myself as a man but I find out that everything is about being a man. This was good because I need to grow up; I am no longer a child. I am a college graduate who is debating full time work. It was great being around the older guys but my favorite part was being around the guys who where maybe in their mid 20s because those are the guys who I am closer to in my life. I skipped a little school and just because I am still young enough to act dumb doesn’t mean I had a right to. I was blessed to room with two really cool guys one was around 25 and the other just turned 30 and the both had some great insight for me along with showing works of faith in serving God. I am used to finding men leading even poorer examples of the Christian life then I but not this weekend. We were a group of maybe 75 men whose only desire was to live for God. It was an amazing experience; it was reminiscent of a church camp setting which I have not been on in years. There was a big difference though; there were no professions of faith and dramatic life changing experiences, these men all already walked with God. That didn’t mean there was not a good amount of tears in men seeing where they fall short of Gods plan. It is also still weird for me to be considered an adult man. In the church I am not looked at as a young kid, I am a younger Man. This means I need to rise to the occasion by becoming a man because that is what I am going to be treated as and expected to act like.

I took away many things from this weekend but the one that sticks out the most is my responsibility as a man. I thought I was pretty mature for my age but I see how that I am not nearly mature enough. I listened to men talking about all their responsibilities and I got a tremendous fear about falling incredibly short of what is required of the spiritual leader of a family. These men talk about how they might be doing well in teaching their children how to walk, serving in the church, providing, and doing all the other leadership responsibilities entrusted onto men. Most even worked hard to find time be alone with God but would then would run out of time to spend washing their wives with the cleansing water of the word. I struggle to find the time for only my own fill of God and I am still only a student. How am I going to be able to take on the job of provider, servant, and spiritual leader of every member of my family and still find time to reach out to those who don’t know God? I know it is not impossible and God never gives us more then we can handle but I know it is not an easy task and many strong men fail at it. Was this weekend meant to show me how much it takes to lead a family to prepare me for that role or was it to open my eyes to the fact that I am meant for something different? I am not naive enough to think that I am different then all the men at our church, I was shown that our struggles get even harder when we get older not easier. They also have the potential to hurt more people by destroying ones family. I need to learn to become more disciplined before I can even think about having a strong family. But back to what I was saying about maybe a family not being what God wants of me. I have made it 21.5 years single and being single is a spiritual gift which I know I can continue if that is God’s will. I have the unique opportunity to serve Him without worrying about providing for a family. God loves marriage and family but He has a special place for singleness. If I had a family I would be obligated to provide for them but alone I am free to do anything and go anywhere God calls me. I was talking to Pastor Larry and he asked about my missions aspirations and I was told him I was confused about its plausible and he said I could always go on missions vacations. And I said I feel like I have so much more to give back then just a vacation. I have a whole life to give back to God, He gave me life and it is not my own. I would rather have nothing to give up when I can no longer ignore God’s call to a sacrificial life of missions then have to risk my families well being by bring them with me or leaving them behind.

How would the world of missions change if every missionary embraced the truth that becoming a missionary is the most enjoyable thing they could possibly do with their lives?

It is funny to be struggling with this call because the Lord says it is the greatest calling and joy will always follow those who follow the Lord. Do I not believe the word? If I do believe then why is this so hard? I have nothing to give up; I count everything for loss but what I do for the Lord. Oh how short sighted I get, God says that I will be blessed a thousand fold for foreign missions but I would rather have a cushy easy life. I have to do all things to the best of my ability and that means that I cannot just go into this halfheartedly, I have to go with the intention of a lifelong service. I don’t want to leave with an airline reservation already planned out for my return. I want to go with nothing; I will be stuck where God places me. I have to put up boundaries to combat my weaknesses, I will want to return home when times get tough if I can but if that is not possible I will continue the good work for Him. My prayer is that this is Gods will because I know I will be happiest in it. I know America needs good godly men but how much more can be done for those who have nothing then those who live in abundance.

There is still the possibility that God gave me an opportunity to serve America in the government though. I have been blessed with a last name which is recognized by almost everyone over 30. I should be able to obtain some seat of power but I see how little any one person can get done in the government and it disheartens me. I know I can make a difference to those who don’t have bibles or clean water and there is a shortage of people willing to reach them. If there were enough people serving other nations I would focus on my political goals because I have a head start but I think I have to look for the thing which will bring about the greatest good for the Lord. I do not know which that is yet but I will continue to pray for God to reveal His plan to me.

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