Monthly Archives: October 2014

We Were Born for Greater Things

We were born for greater things

We were born to chase Your dreams

Come my Lord, awaken holy fire

(Rend Collective – Burn Like a Star)

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We were born for greater things – you, me, all of us – for greater things….

Like being swept up into God’s great romance.

Like living in the dignity of being Abba Father’s ‘favourite’ children.

Like our minds being blown by the extravagant mercy of God.

Like living as people of unconditional love – even showing kindness to those who hurt us.

Like all our addictions being exploded by the dynamite that is true grace.

Greater things like laying down our own desires to serve others.

All this is possible. For God has made it so. With man, this is impossible, but with him all things are possible…if we are willing to believe his love.

Some of these blog posts are quite personal (self-indulgent, even?) – this one maybe more than most. But please bear with me…

Many years ago, there was a period of about a week, when 3 people on 3 separate occasions, unknown to each other, brought me prophetic words along the lines of “God has greater things for you”. On two of those occasions these words of Jesus were quoted:

Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father” (John 14).

God had got my attention with these repeated, hope-filled words.

But what were these greater things that God had called me to? To be some kind of leader? To do miracles, lead lots of people to God? To do something of great importance?

All I knew was that God had turned my life around from a dysfunctional, decadent existence and given me a new kind of life: following him, filled with healing love, finding stability and peace; and out of that new life flowed a burning passion and energy to love and serve him.

And what could those words of Jesus mean? What could possibly be greater than the ‘works’ Jesus performed? What could be greater than his miracles, including raising the dead?! Or giving his life for us?

Generally I’ve heard that verse explained by the promise that Jesus would pour out the Holy Spirit on ALL his people and therefore, by fact of sheer numbers, we would be able to do far more than he could on his own, in terms of revealing God to others through our words and acts of faith.

That sounds fair enough. But remember that these other statements by him and by the apostle Paul also hint at a different kind of “greatness”:

  • There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life” (Jesus)
  • Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Jesus)
  • And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (Paul)

Recently, at work, I was cleaning and treating a homeless client’s blistered, ulcerated, street-worn feet. Here was a guy with some of the fairly typical problems associated with homelessness: substance misuse, prison release, a mental health disorder – all probably stemming back to some childhood abuse that had triggered a chain reaction of life-destroying problems.

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Anon trench foot 2

A previous client’s feet with trench foot – taken a few years ago

Did you know…

  • That street homeless people tend to sleep with their shoes on, to prevent them from getting stolen?
  • That they often walk many miles / day in poor footwear to attend appointments, seek shelter and apply for housing, leading to blisters and ulcers?
  • That, like troops in the First World War, they often suffer trench foot due to prolonged wet conditions? And that this, if left unchecked, can lead to gangrene and loss of limb?

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I felt an enormous sense of privilege – and responsibility to make the most of the opportunity. To give the very best treatment. To give the utmost care, respect and dignity. To treat him as if he were Jesus himself in disguise.

Here was an opportunity to contribute to one man’s efforts to get back on his feet, literally and figuratively, by giving him some sense of worth and hope.

This felt like one of those “greater things”.

Whatever those prophetic words meant all those years ago, no position of responsibility, influence or “success” means anything in terms of “greatness” compared with directly serving and caring for those who are the most vulnerable, most downtrodden and disenfranchised.

It’s clear that Jesus is not so impressed with mighty miracles, flashy ministries or bursting-at-the-seams churches, but with great faith and even more eminently with great love – humble love, that will stoop to serve, especially to serve the most marginalised – love that is rooted in faith towards God.

Or as Paul succinctly explains: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians).

Listening to those words by Rend Collective, followed by the encounter with the homeless client, I realised that those almost-long-forgotten prophetic words of so long ago are being fulfilled.

However…my love is not always humble. Sometimes I feel a sense of self-importance in what I do. That I’m doing what really matters to God.

And I’m confronted by another startling statement from the great theologian Paul, this time describing how we each need to live out our own different gifts and talents:

Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” (Romans).

In engaging with that verse, I’m aware of how much more I sometimes need to appreciate the different ways other people use their gifts and talents to benefit our communities, and how flawed my character is.

I’m very glad that God has called me to do what I do, but it’s equally clear that what I do is not the only way to serve him!

Others express their love for him through sacrificially serving their church, their neighbours, their family, youth, older citizens, or any other kind of people.

The scripture confronts my pride with my many weaknesses and struggles, and reminds me that I have nothing to boast of. And I’m reminded that only God is good; that his Spirit, not my deluded sense of sainthood, is my source of spiritual strength; that I was born to live in him.

And I concur once again with Van Morrison, when he asks: “When will I ever learn to live in God?

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You, too, were born for greater things.

You too are part of that calling of Jesus to achieve “greater works”. Perhaps you’re already living out sacrificial love in some particular way, or maybe you’re in the process of discovering your own unique calling to serve in this global community.

Hopefully you’ve already discovered that that urge you feel in your soul to help others has been granted to you by God…

And that he calls you into the mystery of a spiritual romance with him.

That he calls you to live and love out of the sacrificial gift of love that he’s already given for you at the cross – received simply by believing.

That he calls you to nurture that internal flame of love.

To chase his dreams.

And to burn like a star in this world, reflecting his light for others to see.

 ——————–

We were born for greater things

We were born to chase Your dreams

Come my Lord, awaken holy fire

We are turning from our sin

We are praying once again

Come my Lord, awaken holy fire

We are aching for the real thing

Hearts are open wide

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