Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...



It was a profound yet simple conversation, the latest in a litany of profundities that has marked my friendship with the illustrious Mr. Mikami. I'd started by asking him why I was here; it had been a day full of interrupted reflection, one that hadn't allowed me to really get away and think the way I'd wanted to. It was late, my train of thought was out of steam, and I needed someone to get my mind back on track.

Fortunately, he didn't disappoint.

I explained that I'd been thinking about the past year: the direction my life was taking, the events that marked it, the overarching themes that summarized what God was doing within me. I told Kev that I didn't understand most of it, that I still struggle mightily with not only why I'm here, but even more importantly, what I'm doing to reflect that, to live that out. I expected an uncannily accurate and rich explanation; what I got went something like this: "Doc, you're there to marry some hot chick, learn tons of cool and deep doctrine that I wouldn't even think about these days unless I talked to you, and do all the stuff that I can't do since I'm no longer in seminary. In other words, you're pretty much there for my benefit."

I did say our conversation was profound, didn't I? Hang on, I'm getting there, I'm getting there...

What I told Kev is that I'd been thinking about how the kings of ancient Israel were judged on one scale, that of obedience. The lens of judgment asked, "Did they do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God?" At the end of their lives, when all was said and done, the LORD cared not one whit about how much gold or territory He granted them, nor was He impressed by the way they orchestrated foreign policy or wove together diplomatic resolutions. The scale of their lives held in balance all their thoughts and actions weighed against obedience, an obedience that required their lives to be set apart to Him, just as with all of Israel. Yet, unlike the rest of Israel, the kings had a great deal of influence that was directly proportionate to a greater degree of responsibility, and therefore, a greater degree of accountability to the LORD.

We went on to tallk at length. At one point, Kev pulled a question straight out of Kipapa Gulch. He asked me if I'd ever been asked to fulfill a role of leadership and ended up turning away from it. I told him that while I had not done so recently, that very tendency is one that's marked much of my life. I dislike responsibility, loathe being recognized as having something to offer. Oh sure, a part of me enjoys being asked, but usually, when I think about it long enough, I realize that it's pride that likes being asked.


The humble side of me, the side of me that's like Jesus, the side that loves God's glory, has a difficult time asserting itself. For that, I must rely upon the Holy Spirit, and that's hard.

I told Kev that I have a hard time trusting people. I've struggled with that a lot this semester. How so? Well, I've come to wonder why people want to get to know me, why they want to sit down and talk. That wondering led me to this realization: I wonder why people want to get to know me (and therefore struggle with trusting people) for the simple reason that I struggle so mightily with who I am in Christ, with being content with the righteousness that has been imputed to me without trying to add any sort of glory to that infinite glory which Christ has already granted my wretched soul. Still with me? No? Said differently, my flesh wants to be known for all the wrong reasons while my spirit wants Christ to be known, and therefore, I end up not trusting others because I think they see the things my flesh wants them to see, and not what my spirit wants them to see, namely, Christ.

Kev and I agreed that leadership is hard. It's a lonely place. I can remember back to times when Scott was president of the Student Council; those were fun days. These days? Not so much. It's different when you're in a position of leadership, where much is expected of you, and you feel like you have nothing to give, and end up hoarding it all to yourself. It's a foolish thing, to do that. If there's one thing I learned this summer (and we already went over that, didn't we?), it's that power is perfected in weakness. And you know what? I feel weak. Incredibly so. The question that keeps knocking on my mind is, "John, is your weakness leading you to strength in Christ, or is it leading you to merely go on to keep up appearances?" If power is perfected in weakness, is there not a vast amount of power available to me in Christ? If God holds accountable those to whom He grants responsibility, is it not my joyful duty to be obedient?


posted by Bolo | 6:37 PM
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