What Does Love Require of Me?
In years past, I would have thought that 18 men headed for a lodge up in the mountains would need to start with a common activity, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, partying or maybe a mix of those in some form. The mere thought of this getaway, the fact that all of these men are here to just get to know each other better, to get to know God better and to just take a refreshing break from every day life was unfathomable for the first 30 years of my life. Maybe just weird, yeah, I definitely would have thought it was just weird.
I went anyways….
Maybe it is weird, maybe we are weird, with all of the things in today’s world that are genuinely strange and often harmful to humanity, I’m ok with this kind of weird. I’m now firm in the belief that it’s this kind of weird that today’s world lacks, desperately. The kind of weird that allows us to be different, to stand out in the crowd like the light on top of the hill that Jesus called us to be. Not the look at me, look what I’m doing and crying out for attention standing out but the kind of weird that allows time for men to grow in to the leaders that our generation is looking for, the kind of leaders God intended us to be.
|18 of God’s Men, AC3 Men’s Getaway 2013|
The Selah lodge is owned by a friend of AC3, we are blessed that he opens the doors of this wonderful place to us for this men’s getaway. It’s meant to be a house where The Lord is present, Selah is used in the book of Psalms 71 times, it’s closest translation is “pause, and look at that”, or it’s referenced as a musical interlude/pause within a psalm. To me, it’s a sacred place to pause and be with God and to be with the men that God has put in my life.
Our opening prayer is to take in the name, Selah, to use this time as a pause, to take in God’s rejuvinating power and let it fuel us to lead our families better as well as our community. To me this hit as soon as I parked the truck, I don’t know about you but everyday life can at times beat me down, mentally and physically. Recharging my battery and my passion for discerning God’s will in my life are vital in my Christian walk, a large gasp of the fresh mountain air when I stepped out of the truck was all it took for me to find the peace within the weekend, before it really began.
A safe place…
The theme of the weekend, was based on The Book of Matthew 22:37-40.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The question proposed by our elders/teachers in attendance for the weekend was “what does love require of me?” This struck me, the entire weekend hung on this question, in fact, when you read the words of Jesus, our entire walk as disciples of Christ hangs on this question.
Well you see, for me, I’ve had a problem in the past with letting society’s cliche’s get in the way of me actually knowing someone. Before the trip had even started, we were all gathering in the parking lot looking to take off and I see this rough, tough looking dude, tattoo on his neck with the look of a man who’d been to hell and back on this earth. I remember thinking, “oh great, I have to spend the whole weekend with this guy”. That thought was real, it is how my mind has operated for many years, possibly my entire life. Clearly I’ve been distancing myself from some meaningful relationships due to preconceived notions that somehow I was better than this person, or in some cases, this person was better than me.
As is God’s way of teaching, Clay rode in my car on the way over and I was instantly drawn to him. Clearly God was at work in his heart and clearly he was here with us to make himself a better servant of God. As our teaching session was coming to a close the next morning, Clay told us his life story leading up to that day. I must say, some tears were shed by all. For a man to overcome as much violence and addiction as Clay had, to find redeeming power in the grace of God is absolutely nothing short of a miracle. A man that had been through more than 15 years of what would have and has killed most people whose path had crossed drugs, anger, violence and prison to be here today in the presence of God at Selah lodge, clearly God has more plans for this man. I pray that he never loses sight of the fact that God has placed him exactly where he is today to make an impact on this world, and to be a light within it.
How it hit me…
When the group separated for some free time after Clay poured his heart out to us, I wanted to grab my computer and find a quiet place to write. My instant thoughts went to the question, “what does love require of me?” and how does this pertain to Clay?
I had barely written two sentences when the door popped open and in walked Clay. He sat down on the floor below the bunk bed that I was on the top of and grabbed his iPad, seemingly to settle in for a bit like I was. We talked for more than 2 hours, I won’t divulge in to what the conversation was all about, but I will tell you that I love that man as Jesus does and as I’m called to by our Lord and Savior. The notion that there was a time in my life that I would have never known a story like Clay’s, that I would have never been around to be a friend, a brother in Christ if he needed me and had thoughts of sinking in to his old life genuinely frightens me to my core. I’m so thankful that I decided to be in that place, with those men that weekend with an open heart, God poured in his love and I’ll never judge a book by it’s cover again.
As with most thing’s God sees as good, you have to leave the easy road behind. Think outside the box, get weird and get involved with people who will make you a better servant of God. Take a chance and go on a retreat, getaway or just call somebody and find a group that will help you grow, it’s the lone sheep that get’s slaughtered by the enemy.