Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Like a Sailboat at Talladega

Yesterday I was talking with a good friend about his frustrations with work. He used to be in vocational ministry, and now he's in a job that, in his estimation, is making very little difference for the Kingdom. We were talking about his possibly returning to vocational ministry, and he said that he didn't want to run to that like a crutch. But for this guy, I don't think it would be a crutch - I think it's what he was made to do, and so, searching for an analogy, I told him that maybe him doing this job was like building a sailboat and sticking on the race track at Talladega and wondering why it doesn't work right. The boat was made for water, not the 33-degree banking of my favorite NASCAR superspeedway.

As we continued to talk, the conversation turned to living in the flesh versus living by the Spirit. Living by the flesh (i.e. "making life work" apart from dependence on Christ) can be OK for a while. We can be successful or we can wink and nod at our sin or we can get proud of how religious we are. But eventually, things just don't feel right. We have a nagging sense that we are not operating the way we were created, that we are going against our soul's design.

Which takes us back to the sailboat on the racetrack. We, as Christians, have been recreated in Christ to live in dependence on the Father, through the Spirit, created to sail in water. We have been freed from making life work, from trusting in our own resources, and have been freed to living as God intended, yet we often choose to beach ourselves. Most times when life doesn't work we blame our circumstances or the people who just aren't meeting our needs, but for Christians, conflict and frustration are often God's mouthpiece, reminding us of who we are (and who we are not). Sure, there are rough waters even when we live by the Spirit, but there is a sense, even in the storms, that we are living life as we were created to be.


Brad Barrett said...

A great set of encouragements; thanks! And I especially like the analogy -- what was going through your head to think of a sailboat and the super speedway? Haha.

Marshall said...

I have no idea - I was trying to think of things that just didn't work, and my NASCAR love kicked in, and the rest is poetic history (or the rest is just weird).