“Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves.” _Jesus, Mark 9:50 (NKJV)
It’s hard to stay salty.
At least for me.
I mean well. I intent to stay focused and stay on task, but I get distracted, I get my eye off the ball, and I find myself veering away from keeping the main thing the main thing. In other words, I lose my saltiness.
However, it’s not all bad news. I have developed a set of diagnostic questions that I work through every month to keep myself “salty” so that I can effectively “season” the things under my care.
The first one that I start with every month is: “Who am I here for?”
Currently, my “here” is North and South Dakota, and Montana where I am privileged to serve several congregations and their pastors.
Truthfully, my purpose in asking this question each month is not so much about reminding myself who I am here for, but who and what I am not here for.
For example, I am not here for my parents. They live in Walhalla, SC which Google Maps tells me is 1549 miles away from my residence in Bismarck, ND.
I am not here for my children and their families (who live in Germany and South Carolina).
I am not here to enjoy the amazing natural beauty that surrounds me in these three states. I am not here to get involved in the local politics, support the local sports teams, or to enjoy eating at the excellent restaurants that dot the region.
Nor am I here to read, relax, watch television, or check my emails, peruse Facebook or videos on YouTube.
Does that mean I neglect the daily duties of life? Of course not.
Does it mean that I do not love my family? Of course not! I love them far more than anyone else in the entire world.
I also cherish every free moment I have to enjoy the amazing natural beauty that surrounds me. I even keep an eye on the local politics, catch a favorite television program from time to time and I love a good bowl of Knoephla soup.
But that is not why I am here.
Again, the reason I am here is who I am here for–the amazing congregations and pastors that I serve. And the moment I am here for anything or anyone else I am here for the wrong reason and I begin to lose my saltiness (effectiveness, purpose).
But there’s an even more important bedrock reason I am here. I am convinced that God called me here. And now we are getting to the root of the matter…calling.
Trust me there are times I’d rather be there…
There with my family.
There where I grew up, there where my lifetime friends live, and where things are familiar.
There’s beauty there as well. I can get involved in good causes and enjoy fun things there as well as here. But I remain here because I accepted God’s call and his call seldom is about us staying in our comfort zone, it’s almost always about, “Come follow me.”
Many will say, “God, I will serve you here – near mom and dad, children and grandchildren. Near what is familiar, comfortable, safe, and secure.”
Many are willing if they do not have to go, to leave, to say “good-bye.”
But the essence of calling is God being somewhere else and…calling you to join him there.
Bottom line, saying yes to a new “here” will always require great faith, sacrifice, and courage…and maybe that is why Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)
The ONE THING for today: As yourself, “Why am I here?” If the answer is not “Because God called me here.” Then why are you there?