A while back at work, I bumped into a coworker as I passed by. (We bump into each other A LOT.) She said, “Excuse me?”
My response was simply, “You’re excused.”
This is my usual mantra at work. I’m rude most of the time, making jokes, and throwing ice at my coworkers during downtime. It’s all innocent play, and everyone knows it. But on this particular day, a friend pulled me to the side and asked if everything was okay with me and this other coworker I’d just run into because, as he put it, I sounded serious.
I knew that she knew I was kidding. But just to be sure, I found her in the parking lot after work and I asked her, “You know when I’m mean and stupid, I’m just kidding. Right?”
She said, “Oh, I know. But it would be nice to have an actual conversation once in a while.” Ouch.
I’ll be honest and say that, lately, I have felt a tugging at my heart towards a certain class of ministry that many churches would deem to be inappropriate. And let’s be real… I’m 25 years old. Scripture tells us young people not to be intimidated by those older than us, and not to believe that we’re too young to serve the Lord. But we’re also told to use wisdom and guidance, and short of the voice of God, there’s no better people to seek that wisdom and guidance from than your elders. So that’s what I’ve been doing. And the resounding theme is, I’m on the right track.
Forget salvation for a second. Because there’s life after salvation, but after salvation comes the rescue. And in that sense, I haven’t been rescued for that long.
I got hurt, and in my nature, the appropriate response to a heart injury is to do something about it. I can speak honestly from my heart when I say I’m never out to get someone back. But I will always look for ways to get back at the situation itself. People speeding get tickets and argue with police. I get a ticket, I skip the cop and go straight to city hall with protest signs. I’m not interested in revenge. I want solutions.
All that said, I’m searching my heart in an effort to really identify my motives. Do I actually see a need? Am I looking to fill that need? Or am I acting out of some weird desire for vengeance NOT at a person, but at the situation? Am I gunning down the gates of hell, or am I painting a picket sign?
I guess the simplest way to put it is this: I don’t want to hurt in vain.
And who does? I can see why an angry person would be hurt and get back at the person who hurt them. Their reaction, though different from mine, are two fruits off the same tree. We’re hurt, damn it. SOMETHING must be done about it. And Given Godly control and holy wisdom, I’m not sure having that quality about you is a bad thing.
The calling I’ve felt towards this field of ministry, if it is of the Lord (and the certainty in my heart is growing every day), then I also have to respond to the first calling, and that’s to maturity. Tonight, the confirmation came in the form of a verse in Proverbs I didn’t even know was there, and I’ve read my Bible cover to cover. It’s Proverbs 26:18, and it says, “Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, I was only joking!”
I’m not throwing flaming arrows at anyone. Maybe a piece of ice at a coworker once in a while, but it’s innocent. I’m only joking. Right? …Right…? Of course I am, and I’m not necessarily hurting anyone that I’m aware of. But the bigger issue here is that I am quite possibly being called to something that will require a certain level of maturity. And suddenly, I don’t want to joke around anymore. I don’t want to goof off. We all know I’m going to, but most certainly on a much smaller scale, and only when truly appropriate. Because I’m not being called to put away my joy. WE are not called to put away our joy! But we are called to put away childish things. “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
My best friend told me three years ago, “You are called to be a leader. It’s time you grow up as start acting like it.” I remember her words stinging, but I can see it now coming to fruit. Because the Lord is telling me, “I’m sending you out. But you need to grow up.”
So as we pursue the things of God, and as we respond to callings in our lives, we are quite literally going from glory to glory. Right now, I feel on the edge of His glory. And if I am to come any closer, I will have to put away childish things. This is true for all of us. It’s time to go after the lost. It’s time to pursue God’s heart. It’s time to shut down Facebook, turn off our televisions, put the phones away, and chase Him with everything we are. It’s time for young people to take back their generation.
It’s time to grow up.