I just saw this quote I liked at Alaina's desk at YDI: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried,” G.K. Chesterton.
I'm not familiar enough with Mr. Chesterton's ideas to know what he thinks the, "Christian ideal" means, but to Christ it means learning to love others.
Everyone I come in contact with. All the time.
Looks impossible. Maybe I should give up.
Or maybe it's just really hard.
Maybe it takes all that I have. Am I willing to give it? Do I trust that giving my all to obey him is God's best plan for me? Do I live like I believe that he has so much more for me that I cannot even imagine how much?
Sometimes I have lost vision.
Is it God's fault, or mine?
I believe it's mine.
Jesus says, in the parable of the sower (Mark 4 & Luke 8), that the soil (my heart) is responsible for producing a plant (life) that produces good fruit (demonstrated love, kindness, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, etc.).
The seeds are his words: his communication of his heart to me (and you), whether they come through his Son's life example and words, his church, his creation or his Spirit inside us.
The Genesis account of creation shows that this has always been the pattern that God used, when he says, "Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds, according to their kinds, trees bearing fruit with seeds, according to their kinds."
God did not create the trees and plants directly, but caused the land, or soil to do it.
It obeyed! May God grant us all to obey!
Fortunately, He goes on, after the parable of the ground, to compare the kingdom of heaven (the place where he is obeyed) to a mustard seed which starts tiny, and grows up slowly, to give shade and a place to live to others.
Whew, that's a relief! I just have to start now, with what seed God has given me and, "cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance."
I think I can do that, giving myself to the things he says, a little at a time.
Anyway, to the extent that I've done it, things have gotten better.
When I first moved in with my household family here at the church in Rose Creek Village, it was hard to feel like I belonged here. But as my new family and I continued to go after God, and let him deal with us, he provided what we needed to be a family.
By, "what we needed," I mean that, we (especially "I"), did not know how to be together, trust each other, and love each other with the kind of love that only our Father in heaven knows how to provide.
I mean we had to learn, in this context, how to die to ourselves and obey God in the things that produce relationships that can last forever, as we continue to go on following God.
Here is the generosity of God to an undeserving person (me): I have a household and neighborhood of people of all ages of who love God and who give themselves to give the love of God around them.
My housemates, Ray and Ashley are maybe the hardest working and faithful young couple with which anyone could get to live. They have 2 beautiful young girls who brighten the dreariest day. They are super sweet!
I live with 2 solid brothers, Mitch and Greg who are fun to be with, and a sweet new addition to our house, a great servant and sister, Alaina. (I hope to post pictures of them, soon.)
I live next to some of the best friends and people that anyone could hope to have, and my small group (we called them clans, as in Scotland's extended families, but are looking for a better name, in order to avoid confusion) is awesome and full of awesome people who are totally awesome!!! (Use of awesome 3 times, intentional.)
I get the joy of eating with each of two of the households on 2 different nights, enjoying great food and greater company!!!
But it doesn't stop there. I have another 150+ friends in the Village, and God keeps extending the boundaries of friends and family into the local area, Memphis, Atlanta, Florida and South America, Mexico and California. (Who knows where it will go and grow from there? Maybe the whole Earth!)(I'm looking forward to meeting our family in Nekuru, Kenya, one day!)
Yes our Father really gives generously to all, without looking to find fault!!!