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I love the way our heart soars when we return to the mission

November 5th 2007 (2) comments so far  

I was recently away from work for a couple of weeks because of pneumonia. Two trips to the hospital, one allergic reaction to medication, and a number of days in bed later, and now I’m fine. Although I still have a small cough as a reminder that my body played host to an invasion of bacterial bugs.

If I learned anything from the experience, I learned that working with Chuck, our Senior Pastor at Stonebriar, gets some odd attention from a lot of people outside our church family. While I sat in the hospital examination room after a severe allergic reaction (which felt as if my eyes were bugging out of my head and throat constricting in a way only Steven Spielberg could have visualized on screen), the receiving doctor sat down to tell my wife and me how much Chuck’s radio preaching had meant to him over the years (he heard that I worked with Chuck on staff). As I listened to “Chuck stories,” I wanted to remind him that I was the one on the clinic bed. “Um, Doc, don’t forget me here on the bed.” In actuality, he was a wonderful doctor, but in my coughing spasms I learned to not think too highly of yourself while you lay on the table. The lesson is a fond””and chuckling””reminder for my family.

My return to work also reminded me of another important truth about life. When you return from being sick for a while, it feels somewhat daunting at least””perhaps difficult at worst””to get back into the swing of things. The body moves slowly. Even the mind and heart gaze around to find their initial first step. Yet here’s the beauty””the Holy Spirit never stops beckoning and drawing us back to his mission while we wrestle with the bacterial bugs. As he pulls us back to his work, our heart again soars because we were created for his strategies. Sickness never changes the mission; it just slows the body for a while.

When I think of the church, or even our individual Christian life, the same is true. If some “sickness” (and I mean sickness in very general terms, such as struggle, tragedy, problem, conflict, etc.) knocks us out of the saddle of Christ’s mission for a while, it may feel somewhat daunting at least””perhaps even difficult at worst””to get back into the saddle. Yet the Holy Spirit never stops drawing us back to the mission and strategy of the church. Why? Because we are designed for mission, for his strategies, for ministry. In a similar way, sickness never changes the mission; it just slows the Body for a while. And of course, I love the way our heart soars when we return to the mission.

Published by: Paul Utnage



    Paul McCollister February 5th at 10:35 am  

    At age 75 I am learning that our bodies are designed with planned obselescence just like the auto industry builds cars. The Bible says we have 3 score and 10 plus a little more … some may even make it to 80. Indeed some do and increasing numbers get to 90 and beyond but I’m not at all sure that the quality of life justifies the extension. Arthritis, glaucoma, hypertension, blocked arteries, insomnia, carpel tunnel all bear witness to the fact that my body is wearing out. I’m assured a couple of knee replacements will make a world of difference, and one day soon they’ll clean out my left carotid just like they did the right, and I’m grateful for that I guess; I’d like to outlive my dear wife, and our Christian Mission Station still has lots to do to get to a 24/7/365 level of discipling. Fortunateley I’m not in charge, nor were you with pneumonia. Our vocabulary has become quite simple: Yes Sir. No Sir. Thank you, Sir.

    I understand the doctors gratitude toward God for Chuck. He was one of my mentors 24/5/365 via radio when I started life over in 1969; he helped pour the footings and they’re still firmly in place. I wasn’t srprised by the results of his Mall survey … he might well have gotten a similar response from his congregation. There aren’t many people who need God in America except for the poor who ask for daily bread with sincerity. The poor we have served for 23 years avoid people who call themselves Christian. Those same people flocked to Christ. I wish I understood why the difference, but I guess it isn’t so important.

    I trust you’re completely healed by now. Isn’t the gift of good health a wondrous thing?

    Buena Vista, CO


    C. Michael Patton April 15th at 1:31 am  

    What happened to your blogging? I am looking forward to more.

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