Monday, May 03, 2010


Roy's first year in seminary was quite possibly the most miserable year of my life. Wouldn't you think that when a husband decides to devote his life to full-time ministry, the wife should be elated, proud, supportive? Well, I tried. I really tried. But before seminary I had been a stay-at-home mom, who spent much of her day soaking in God's Word and enjoying stimulating spiritual discussions with her church family. During that first year of seminary, I worked too much, saw my kids too little and had no church family. With a sour attitude and thoughtless comments, I managed to alienate the seminary president, the dean and the woman in charge of student life. Desperate for community, I resorted to Busy Bee Mesu's common pattern. I created my own community. I started a seminary wives' weekly Bible study. I worked with admissions, organizing hee-man student movers to welcome newcomers to seminary housing. And I decided it was time that my Hindu boss began learning a little about Christianity – so I started a Bible study with him, too. By the end of our second year, I was a little less miserable because I was a whole lot more engaged.

At my husband's senior awards banquet, the seminary president announced a new award. He held up a gold-plated mahogany plaque and said, “I'd like to award our first-ever Helping Hands award to Mesu Andrews.” I nearly choked on my salad. Me? I walked up to the podium, shook his hand and reached for the glimmering mahogany. “And we'd also like to give you another little token of our appreciation,” he said, reaching behind the lectern. He pulled out a sweatshirt with our seminary's name embroidered on it.

“A SWEATSHIRT!” I nearly threw the glistening plaque on a nearby table, reaching for the folded gray fleece and clutched it to my chest. The audience laughed nervously, and I realized how silly I appeared making gah-gah eyes over a sweatshirt, when the president had just honored me for a meaningful campus ministry.

He graciously chuckled and said, “Well, Mesu has always been more on the practical side.” He affirmed that I had made the cut – done well, overcome a tough situation and made a contribution to others. But I knew in my heart that I had totally missed the point. All my efforts to serve were just a frantic attempt to fill my need for community. But God in His grand plan used my little acts to fill others' needs. Sometimes my little eyes see only my immediate concerns, but God's big ideas are beyond my comprehension…

Gen. 28:10-15 – “Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD , and he said: 'I am the LORD , the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.'”
  • Be Jacob for a moment. You've just deceived your father and are fleeing for your life from your enraged brother (who happens to be very good at hunting prey). God speaks to you in a dream about His connection with your grandfather, Abraham, and your father, Isaac. He promises you blessing and descendants beyond number. YOU'VE MADE THE CUT! Now, what is your reaction? Can you move beyond the immediate concern and see the bigger picture, or are you stuck in the here and now?
Gen. 28:16-19 – “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, 'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.' He was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.' Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.” (emphasis added)
  • Okay, you have a dream like that, and you get a promise from God like THAT, and your first response is, “How awesome is THIS PLACE?” You're kidding me. Jacob may have made the cut, but he missed the point. Where is the praise for God? The thanksgiving for God's promise? The awe at God's grace and forgiveness? Let's give Jacob a little grace for being dazed and afraid after such a vivid dream, but let‟s learn from his “duh” moment to keep our focus on the Giver of blessing, not the blessings alone.
Gen. 28:20-22 – “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.'”
  • Okay, Jake, first of all, God already PROMISED to be with you, so why say “if God will be with me?” Secondly, why vow to give Him a tenth IF He brings Jacob back to Isaac's house? God already promised that, too! Why do we qualify our obedience on God's faithfulness when God can ONLY be faithful, and we can NEVER be perfectly obedient? Jacob – like you and me – has already made the cut, already been accepted by God. THAT'S the point – but he's missing it. Jacob still thinks they're in negotiations! God doesn't want Jacob's tenth. He wants ALL of Jacob – and all of us – because He gave us all of Himself.
Lord, I'm overwhelmed at my small-mindedness and the vastness of Your plan – that includes me. My humble offerings are sometimes given with silly or selfish motives, and yet in Your grace You receive them, changing them into something useful – sometimes even beautiful. Train my focus toward You, Lord, each and every waking moment – even in my dreams.

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