This week, I would like to share a few thoughts from a newsletter I receive periodically. This letter is from Margie Haack who lives with her husband Denis in Minnesota. Together Margie and Denis have created a ministry, Ransom Fellowship, that includes lecturing, writing, teaching, feeding, and encouraging those who want to know more about what it means to be a Christian in the everyday life of the 21st century.
Summer and what you thought would be completely doable is actually Boot Camp for the unwary.
Does this happen to you? You look at the weeks ahead and think, great! The calendar is clear and I’m way ahead of the game. Besides my regular work, I’ll plant the garden, attack mold in the bathtub and scrub out the chicken house. I’ll read good books to improve my character which will also give best-book picks for that end of the year gift list I scramble to publish every November.
Suddenly, weeks fill with unexpected obligations, out-of-town company (not to say you aren’t delighted to see them), with deadlines and appointments entirely forgotten, and celebrations you can’t avoid.
To accomplish anything at all I’ll need to be very stern with myself, especially since I know how easy it is to push aside things that are absolutely part of my calling and obedience to God. The problem is being the kind of person who thinks, yes, please kill me, I’ll gladly be here because if I’m not who will love me? (Number 2 on the Enneagram. Dangit.)
You might pray I steady on and continue what seems to be a life-long mission – learning when to say “no” and what it is right to say yes whatever the cost. Fortunately, I’m blessed with a husband who knows how to say “no” and is happy to advise. We are good for each other, you understand? A little more self-restraint versus a little less reserve makes almost a perfect couple.
Life in Ransom has always been complicated like this – a crossing of boundaries from what could be technically called our “ministry” and the blending of ordinary living that touches the lives of others and something we work at every day. This is where most of us live – struggling with the dichotomy of the spiritual versus the physical and discerning where we are most in need of redemption from this error.
Jerram Barrs writes in Being Human: All we do is to be done under the lordship of Christ – even washing the floors. Everything we do as human beings is spiritually important. There is no sacred and secular….That does not mean merely that we see practical value in “secular” tasks like peeling potatoes and washing the floor. It means far more: God himself delights in them because he has created the realm of the physical. Therefore, we are to value every part of our lives as he does.
Pray for us ( and may we pray for one another) as we make our way through the summer months hoping to find the proper time for the writing and research (or whatever is required of us) that we must do. For our commitments to our family, our local body, for those we invite to our home with a desire to love and encourage for the sake of the Gospel.
You can read more about Ransom Fellowship at www.ransomfellowship.org. You can learn about media-loving Denis’s Critique magazine where he writes about movies for discussion and some of those topics we all need to learn more about.