When I was just beginning my service for the kingdom of God while I was stationed in Belgrade, Montana, I had the privilege of serving 9 months with a pastor that was an awful supervisor, and a great mentor and pastor to his congregation. There are several sermons I still remember snippets of from memory of his sermons, which I can say about very few others. One of the sermons I remember best was his last sermon at Belgrade Community Church.
The sermon was based on the last sentence in I John "my little children, keep yourselves from idols". There was a lot about Dosteovesky and the novel the Brothers Karamazov. And, even more memorable, there was a lot about signposts.
In this part of the message, he warned against fads in spirituality, and about trying to build ourselves up into false gods of our own making. He also talked about how really what God has called us to be was signposts. Like John the Baptist in the famous painting where he is working to move to the sideline while pointing to Jesus, Pastor Dave compelled us to believe that we are called to be nothing more than an arrow pointing to Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Like roadsigns along the interstate, we are meant to provide direction for others to find Christ and his kingdom.
As I was rereading this concept from another author and preacher, I began to wonder about how this works in my own spriritual journey. I think about the whole roadsign metaphor, and so often I feel like I am this lowly roadsign announcing an upcoming turn, while surrounding me are larger, brighter and more colorful billboards announcing exciting destinations where people can gamble and put their kids on waterslides. Where once I was a bright and sturdy sign that was brand new, I am now a roadside sign battered by winter storms and peppered with bullet holes from a shotgun on my lower-right corner. These years in Colorado have certainly been the most trying of not only my calling, but of my faith in general.
And lately, I have been wondering, whether to honestly stand strong in the middle of storm after storm, seemingly worse for wear, is actually doing anyone else any good. Does my honesty about what is on my heart commend my faith, or push people away from it? Does my willingness to remain firmly rooted in the storm that seems to perpetually surround the ministry I am a part of make me a more effective signpost, or not?
These thoughts are unfinished, but this is what is on my heart today.