I was thinking last night as I was preparing dinner about how passionate my wife has been over some of the things that she has felt called to do. In particular I recalled that joyful drive that caused her to pursue homeschooling for our four kids. Our initial plan was to try it for a few years and see from there. Well, a few years came and went and she never looked back, educating our kids through high school!
Just before we sat down for dinner I mentioned to her how her passion for homeschooling really set her apart from some other family and friends who also homeschooled their children. And while I am sure that these individuals did it because they felt it was right for their kids and their family, some of them did not seem to possess the same passion for it as did Piper. I am fairly certain that a few of them did it because of Piper. Piper made homeschooling look like fun… which to her (and our kids) it was! She lived it with our kids. It was easy to find her with a big smile talking about their projects, potential new curriculums and resources, the many field trips that our wonderful homeschool group offered and new books she heard about that they could read.
Our homeschool was very much a hands on experience that Piper jumped right into the middle of! I must admit that it was confusing to us how some folks we knew would simply seem to have their children doing bookwork at home, alone in their bedrooms and called that homeschool.
To my wife and I, that nullified the whole purpose of the whole-life home experience that is directed by the personal influences and beliefs that we as their Mom and Dad desired to instill in our children’s lives, rather than the influences of the world which many times are contrary to Biblical truths. We wanted to be the ones training up our kids in the way they should go during their formative years so that as they grew up they would not fade away from them but incorporate the truth of God’s Word into every decision they would face.
I finally came to the conclusion… as we have been told on many occasions, that we are pioneers! I also mentioned to her a few of the many new paths that we forged over the years of our marriage that members of both our families eventually choose to follow us down! But once again, in many instances, it was our passion and our pioneering spirit that separated us from the rest of the family. Things that Piper made to look fun and excelled at didn’t always seem to go that way with them. While Piper would happily share stories from our adventures in things like homeschool, we would find some of the others tending to complain and not be too thrilled about their experiences. Many times it seemed that what they did was a burden rather than a joy!
I kind of got that same feeling from the comments of the Jewish leaders that questioned Peter and John following the miraculous healing of the lame man in Acts chapter three and four. The first two verses in Acts chapter four grabbed my attention as I read, “Some priests, the officer in charge of the temple guards, and some Sadducees approached Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. These religious authorities were greatly annoyed…” (God’s Word ©)
My initial reaction was to question why they were annoyed at the two Apostles. As I read through the rest of the chapter I came to the conclusion that the leaders were not only upset about what and Who Peter and John were talking about, but maybe more importantly that they felt their own positions and way of life threatened! The passion for what they were doing was quite evident in everything Peter and John said and did! It seemed to me that the religious leaders lacked that same passion in their lives. Therefore it annoyed them when they saw it in these two leaders of the followers of Christ!
I really believe that this is one of the reasons that some family members were instantly annoyed with us when we began to step out of what they considered the “norm” in the Spirit-led directions we choose to follow as we stepped into the combat mode for my wife’s health. As I talked about it last night, I also began to see that this was a pattern that had been going on for years with these same folks who felt it to be their place to point out our faults and seek to correct us when we would step out and pioneer a new direction that differed from what they considered the right way.
While sharing all this with my wife last night, I quickly sensed the importance of some of the foundational joy scriptures that we have held close to our hearts throughout our marriage, like those found in Nehemiah 8:10 and Proverbs 17:22. I have come to firmly believe that the Lord established a heart of joy in us in order for us to confidently seek, discover and pursue the “new lands” that He has had (and still has) for us to explore over the 45 years of our relationship. I can now see how that joy helped us to overcome the barriers we faced as we moved forward as well as those coming from behind us by those attempting to dispel our efforts… and to get us back from “La La Land!” (as I actually once had a relative tell me this!)
When you read down to the end of Acts chapter four you’ll find that this same spirit of joy was evident in the early church as Peter and John gathered with the rest of their congregation to rejoice and worship the Lord after receiving the persecution of the religious leaders! So does that make Peter and John… as well as Piper and I… to be annoying people? No, from what I’ve seen over the years, other folks tend to like to be around joyful people and not around complainers!
The people of Jerusalem and later those from around the world seemed to be drawn to the Apostles and members of the growing Christian church. I believe that people in need like to see and be around people who are confident and even a bit passionate about what they believe in… especially when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those who follow His leadings into new lands and adventures!
So… just how adventurous and passionate are you in your walk with the Lord? How passionate are you in perusing the things that He calls you to do? Do your efforts look to be easy and fun to others… like the way my wife usually makes things to be? I think that’s the way Papa God wants it to be! Wouldn’t you agree? Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I making to look like FUN today?”