I have been trying to clean up my office a bit today. It definitely needs it. Whenever I do that, I always run across something on a piece of paper or Post It note that I had written but forgotten. Sometimes in a moment of inspiration I write down something before I forget it. Then it gets lost in the floatsom and jetsom Today I found:
People who aspire to teaching, especially those who desire to be Christian teachers, suffer from a special malady; they call those who listen to them to a deeper experience than they themselves have attained. If only those who have attained the deepest understanding teach, there would be almost no teachers to go around. William Meisheid December, 2006
I know that is not an entirely original thought (what is…see Ecclesiastes below), but it is something I have pondered many times over the years, especially as when I created my study of J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. Certain subject matter seems to demand a certain level of accomplishment, not just experience. But then, how do we deal with the gifts that God gives us, one of which, at least for me, is insights into basic things.
Every time I read the Scriptures, hear someone preach, teach, or just speak, my mind is filled with insights. It is not because I have attained some great spiritual level; it is because God gave me that gift. Sometimes I learn along with my hearers (or readers), because until I said it (or wrote it), I had not had that insight before.
That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
I have thanked the Holy Spirit for that gift that he lovingly gave me (1 Corinthians 12:11) many times. The burden it places on me is sometimes hard to bear. I have to fight to restrain myself in meeting and small groups. My mind is flooded with answers, insights, solutions to problems, but if I let it all out it would overwhelm the situation. Sometimes I feel like the character on Heroes, I feel like I am going to explode and take everything around me with me.
What happens at those times is almost like what would occur if I was able to do a Google search of the Holy Spirit’s information store and the hits pour in, overwhelming my brain page. In the end, I believe what God wants me to learn is how to restrain the deluge, to filter and prayerfully consider, from all that is flooding my understanding at that moment, what NEEDS to be expressed right now, what best fits the situation. He gives me a choice (doesn’t he always?!).
The question I have to ask myself is do I trust and love God enough to believe that he will bring back to mind that which I do not use at that moment. The root of my problem is fear. I am afraid that if I do not get it all out right then and there that it will be lost and the insights I leave behind will never return. It is almost as if I am standing in front of a hoard of gold coins and I can only have what I grab and hold onto right then.
That belies the gift and trust of the giver. These insights do not belong to me. They are mine to pass on as needed, but they are not my possessions. In and of themselves, they are not important. They only matter in that God has chosen one or more of them for this moment. What is important is how God wants to use them for his own purposes, not mine. Jesus told his disciples:
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:24
I need to remember Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient and kind..It does not insist on its own way… 1 Corinthians 13:5a, 7a
I guess I would add that love is not afraid to pause or wait for the right moment; it knows that the best is found in trusting God, that giving in to God is not failure but the real meaning of success and the only way we can be all that we were/are meant to be. To paraphrase Paul at the Areopagus, love (God as agape) is whom we live and move and have our being.
May God bless your efforts to be what he has called you to be and may he grant you the grace and peace you need to trust him as his hands work the clay and fashions it into the you that is waiting to be revealed, the real you.