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Monday, February 15, 2016

"Man Up!" - Differing Standards

As I sat at my desk in the quiet of the morning while the freezing rain was coating everything outside with a thin layer of white, I found myself thinking about an incident that happened when Piper and I were juniors in High School.  We were both part of a large group of friends that enjoyed doing things together after school and on weekends.  This particular time we had gathered in one of the hallways of Montgomery High in Santa Rosa, California and were planning a trip to the coast for the upcoming weekend.

What initially popped up in my remembrance this morning, was the gleam in her eyes and the sense of adventure that I noticed in Piper that day.  I realized that even way back then… a good year before we would become more than just friends and actually start dating, that we were unknowingly working together as a leadership team in the planning of that and many of the other activities our group pursued together.  

As I recall that day in the hallway, we were trying to figure out how we could carpool together when Piper immediately jumped into the fray and excitedly suggested that she could take her Dad’s truck and that we could all ride in the open bed for the forty-five minute ride to the beach… and while everyone tended to like the idea, I remember declaring that it might not be the safest thing to do and most likely wasn’t even legal!  That’s a little weird thinking back now, that I was the voice of reason…

At the beginning of the next school year when we started dating, we almost immediately stepped into leadership roles in her church’s youth group along with some all-school events.  From that point on we just sort of never looked back and tended to continue in that role in numerous new, adventurous and sometimes a bit outrageous events as leaders in the churches we served in and with our family. I use the term outrageous not because that’s how we thought about them, but how some others around us who had differing outlooks than us did.

Ephesians 4:1 in The Message Bible encourages us “to get out there and walk – better yet run – on the road that God called you to travel.”  And I must admit that up until recently with the situation with Piper’s health… but yet even then…(as we did move across the country following His call for us didn’t we?), I don’t think we hardly ever broke our stride in pursuing the things we felt Papa God was calling us to experience.  The Good News Bible definitely caught my attention with its translation of that same verse as it states: “… live a life that measures up to the STANDARD God set when he called you.”

The command to live up to the STANDARD THAT GOD SET FOR US was a bit of a game changer in how I now see my own life and helped to correct the way I have look at others who do not have the same calling as Piper and I.

I have known for some time that we were called to be “pioneers” throughout our lives.  We were part of and/or helped to initiate and grow the last five start-up churches we served in, were pioneers in homeshooling back in the early 1980’s, ventured into numerous home businesses over the years and have lived in twelve different homes in three different states over the forty years of our marriage… and each time getting a itching and yearning for new adventures and challenges within a few years of living there!  

Now some folks would look at that on our resume and simply think that we were pretty flaky!  But we are pioneers… and when you look at it from that point of view you would understand and see that we have just been very active in pursuing the various positions and kingdom responsibilities that Papa God has entrusted to us.

When I read about living up to the STANDARDS of our particular calling, I suddenly understood that each calling of God comes with a different set of STANDARDS that those called to it must follow in their lives.  As pioneers we tend to be more free and able to follow our God given dreams and make decisions and take actions that others may consider to be fool-hardy or risky.

On the other hand, we have many friends and family members that are called to be “settlers.”  Please don’t confuse the term “settlers” with the funny Directv ad that talks about those who “settle” for less with their TV carrier selections.  The “settlers” that I am talking about are those who are called to become established in a certain geographical area and develop and grow their lives, their ministries and their God given and anointed influence right there.

It makes sense that the STANDARDS of behavior (See the 1965 Bible in Basic English’s translation of Ephesians 4:1) for this calling would be different from the pioneers who are called to go out and open up new lands for the settlers to come and establish.

This truth has helped me to understand why those with different callings than us would question our actions.  It has also opened my eyes to see how I have judged those with differing callings wrongly as I was viewing them through my calling’s set of STANDARDSnot the ones that they are rightfully following!

So… what do you think about that?  Does that make any sense and possibly clear up some things for you?  It sure did for me!  Have a great week.  Keep pursing the callings that God has called YOU to and at that same time keep asking yourself… “What STANDARDS am I expecting to live today?”

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