I wrote several months ago that at that time I was having difficulty sleeping. As I was immersed more and more into life ‘on the margin’, I was feeling overwhelmed by the height and depth of the issues faced daily. I began to question how it was that people did this kind of ministry day in and day out. I was directed by an older Christian gentleman to Philippians 4:8 “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” This is not a call to be a Polly Anna or to ignore injustice, pain, or sin, but it is a call to, as Paul says earlier in this same book (Phil 2:6) to have the same attitude as Christ.
One of our chief volunteers said yesterday that when she looks in the faces of our friends at the chapel, she sees a courage to face each day that inspires her and causes her awe. She is not oblivious to the problem but in looking at reality squarely she sees beyond reality.
The key to our friendships, if they are to be true Godly ones, is seeing beyond reality. It is to see with the eyes of Christ and to share His attitude, the very attitude which led Him to the cross. We cannot be ‘holier than thou’ but we must be holy. We cannot be prudes but we must be pure.
Those sleepless nights ended when I began to think ‘on these things’. There is an old Bing Crosby song “When you’re restless and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep, counting your blessings” I have found this true and I have come to believe that being in this for the long haul requires that I seek this ‘mind of Christ’ for the flesh cannot sustain a ministry such as this.
All this is a part of my Lenten meditation on shrinking. Are you getting smaller?