I am, admittedly, not good at keeping in touch. Not with family, not with friends and not with business acquaintances. I put it off to being too busy, and there is truth in this. However, too much of this is just a lack of effort on my part.
When we keep in touch we are extending a part of ourselves, pouring into others’ lives. Beyond mere friendship, when we take the precious time we are given to be with others we are saying something profound that too often goes unsaid.
We are giving people a piece of ourselves.
As I get older I feel this more and more keenly as I have fewer of these moments to give. Thus, to me, making them even more precious. Thus, I tend to guard my time jealously.
However, what does this say about me? It speaks to my selfishness. It does not speak to a big part of what I was put on this planet to do with my life. This may be why I often feel guilty and out of sorts when I do not give up my time.
When we take on the mantle of being a follower we must also take up the mantle of being a servant to all. This often means that our time is not our own. We are called to sacrifice and part of that sacrifice has to be time.
In a ministry of presence, not being present is a big deal!
As I have noted before, Chaplaincy is often less about evangelizing and more about being present with others. Most often our chances at ministry come more from the ability to come alongside someone and walk with them through this life. When we are not present that becomes difficult..well, impossible really.
This can be in direct conflict with much of what life throws at us and the enemy will capitalize upon this. He will make us busy at work, busy at home and just wanting time to ourselves. I am the chief of all sinners when it comes to this. The enemy has thrown work in my face for a long time now. He has tapped into my vanity around work and security that comes from work to keep me from my God given role in this world.
And I have bought into it hook, line and sinker!
Where we spend our time, talent and treasure determines what we value most in this life. Now, I dedicate quite a bit of time to writing and reaching others through what I write. However, my writing is often driven by what I am doing in the rest of my life. This is true of anyone who writes really. We each find our muse in different places, to be sure. But when so much of mine is drive by motorcycle ministry…well, I need to be on that bike to find my muse.
Luckily, the Spirit provides much of the muse as well in my life. So for those periods where I am not riding much He comes alongside and prompts me to write. But in the same vein the Spirit convicts me of what I am not doing toward my ministry as a chaplain.
Our interaction, being in touch and present, is the crux of what we are to do as Christians and Chaplains. It is the Great Commission!
And on the point of the Great Commission, make sure you do not read that as the Great Suggestion. It wasn’t! We were to go and profess to the world. Each in our own way. I am lucky enough to be able to do it both on while riding and while writing.
I ride and write, others ride and preach, still others do it through music or a million other ways God has given us through our individual gifts. Many years ago when the church went through a heavy “Spiritual Gift’s” period I decided I had none. God just kinda laughed and said, “oh really, let’s test that!” I now find it interesting how God “teaches” us just how he plans to use us…if we are open to being used.
Be careful what you pray for.
When we open ourselves to God’s leading and let go of the results, miraculous things happen. Note that I said we have to “let go of the results.” We want to think we are in the results business, but that is God’s territory, not ours.
Some time ago when going through a particularly difficult time I read, “Jettison your small plans, for the plans I have for you are greater than you can imagine..” God, even in the simple interaction of being “in touch” with others has far more planned for us and those we come in contact with than we can envision. But we must be willing to be present and then let the Spirit move amongst us.
Being present takes place when we are in touch.