I live in the rural suburbs. The remaining farms have soy beans, corn fields and pastures framed in fences. We've had a steady amount of rain this summer, so the colors have remained exquisitely green!
As I was driving along a fence-lined field the other day, I was struck how it provided a visual reminder of the life of a disciple!
Eugene Peterson described discipleship as "a long obedience in the same direction."
The rolling fence line that seemed to go on for miles has become a visual reminder of my walk with Christ.
The fence - a life, segmented by blocks of time, extending for years...
The rows of corn - planted as kernels of dried seed, that grow into tall stalks, which usually produce only one ear of corn...
one life to be lived...
It made me think about something Jesus said:
" I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." JOHN 12:24
Paul said it this way:
" If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." PHILIPPIANS 2:1-3
Mission, Jesus style calls for perseverance... a long obedience in the same direction. Like a fence, we're called to be consistent, even though there will be ups and downs.
We're called to spend our days for the good of another. When we invest in other people's lives for eternal purposes, our lives have impact that lasts beyond our lifespan.
Like a broken section of fence, our lives can have periods of inconsistency or brokenness, but that doesn't impact the entire fence line. The next section can be solid.
Broken sections can be mended and there can be a long span of living on purpose after the repair work is done.
Imagine your life like the stalk of corn.
One stalk...one life.
Each one does not stand alone, but alongside many others. As the stalk grows and matures, it produces an ear of corn with many kernels. As the ear matures, each of those kernels has the potential to produce another stalk and ear of corn.
Imagine that each of the kernels are the lives of people with whom you come into contact during your lifetime. You have the opportunity to share God's love so they can know the Lord and help each one grow and mature. When that person grows in the way of the Lord, they have been planted as a new stalk. That kernel then has the potential to produce another "ear-full" of people who know the Lord.
Mission, Jesus style calls us to live for the eternal well-being of others,,, to live our lifespan on purpose... to grow and mature in the ways of the Lord... to help others know the Lord... and to journey next to each other as we mature together.
...living a long obedience in the same direction!