Thursday, July 28, 2011

GUATEMALA 2011: (2) The Gravity of my Soul

I can feel the weight of the world tonight. There are times I swear I can feel the turn of the earth and the relentless press of gravity on my bones. When the days seem so long and life just seems so short. No matter how much you can do, you know deep down that it will never be enough... and still, at times you don't even make the effort to take care of the easy things because you feel so overwhelmed. The vastness of it all both sets me in awe and paralyzes me into immobility.

There are no evil men and there are no good men. We are simply men who have the potential of doing either. Each day when the sun rises, we take air into our lungs and set our feet in motion in the terrestrial pursuit of our souls. We have the adverse duality of greatness versus mere typicality and whether we will leverage that ability towards good or bad endeavors.

For example, I would say that Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr. were both great men. This is not a judgment on their actions, rather a measurement of their effect in reaching their desired goals. Both men changed the world and won over the hearts and trust of millions, one to inspire the world to be better, and the other to forever scar humanity. Clearly being great is simply not good enough. Many a great man has sent chaos and destruction loose on the innocent. 

I am convinced that the greatest sin in the world is that man who has the potential to do good, recognizes that good, and then turns away from it. I believe that this is the origin of evil in many a man. 

Think of how differently the world would have been if Martin Luther King Jr. did not have the courage to carry him through the strength of his convictions. Or, how differently the world may have been if Hitler had a morality to capture the spirit of a nation and lead it down a path of equality and freedom.

I get so concerned that I am just another face in a crowd of billions. I lead an average life and at times I burn for so much more. It is so easy to be distracted by the great and lose sight of the good.

At the end of the day, it would be better to have lived a quiet life that held goodness, than it would be to have shaken the world and die an empty, wicked man. I think of how much time we spend worrying about so much that will never matter.

What would it profit a man now, to gain the whole world and lose his soul? 

Steve Camp wrote a song over a decade ago (1991), and the words loop in my head:

Could I be called a Christian if everybody knew
The secret thoughts and feelin's of everything I do
Would they see the likeness of Christ in me each day
Could they hear Him speaking in every word I say

Could I be called a Christian if my faith I did not show
If I did not go to places where the Lord would have me go
If I do not love His truth, if I do not guard His trust
If I cherish more than Jesus, my greatest hidden lust

Could I be called a Christian and believe not His holy word
If I take Him as my Savior and then refuse Him as my Lord
If I could not love the outcast and am not burdened for the lost
If I fail to deny myself and each day take up my cross

To be all He's commanded
To do all that He said
To be His true disciple
And place no confidence in the flesh
To glory in Christ Jesus
It's He who justifies
O, to find your life you must lose it
To live you first must die
Let every man examine his own life

O, to find your life you must lose it
To live you first must die
Let every man examine his own life
Could I be called a Christian

 These words run like a subtitle across my conscious thoughts and I am challenged beyond cognition. To truly believe the teachings of Jesus would mean that I can not live a typical life. How can I believe his message and not have my life altered? Could I... can I be called a Christian?

How many have I seen hungry and fed? How many have I seen naked and clothed? How many opportunities have I seen that I could have done good... and yet I passed them by? How many times have I chosen a selfish path? How much more could I show compassion, patience, kindness, and be a light in the darkness?

I am deeply challenged tonight. There is so much that can be done. So much more than my typing hands and preaching mouth could ever accomplish. 

This world doesn't need another preacher, or another comfortable congregation singing hymns and polished in their Sunday best.

This world needs salt and light.

I feel the weight of the world tonight, and I feel so poorly equipped to react. 

There's more to this life than living and dying,
more than just trying to make it through the day.
More to this life than these eyes alone can see
and there's more than this life alone can be. -Steven Curtis Chapman 1989 Lyrics
Original Lamp, Chincoteague Lighthouse

May God find us here and make a way. 

May I never lose this perspective 

And may I never pass by the moment to first do good.
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