Thursday, October 11, 2007

Feverish Ramblings

I've got the flu today...second day. I get sick very rarely and I really hate it when I do. I'm sitting in my living room with my computer on a TV tray, papers scattered all over the floor with "all over" being the operative concept. I've started at least 10 projects and its still early. Like the papers, I'm scattered. I need to be in my office to finish most of these, I've got a sermon coming up that Lynn, Cherice, and I have been working on together...we need to talk further. I missed a meeting for worship for business last evening. Haven't heard what happened. I stood up a friend with whom I had worked hard to find a lunch appointment for yesterday. Bleah. I hate this.

OK, its now 9:00am I read Scot, Gregg, and Amy's blogs and doing so greatly relieved my anxiety. I am so grateful to them and others who go to the work of blogging. It really is work. It's such a generous thing to do. They are being generous with their time, reputation, and with their lives. Gratitude is a centering thing, isn't it?

Coincidentally the sermon series we are working on is about generosity. Go figure.
We're thinking of preparing a couple of questions to contemplate during silent worship: "When does generosity come with difficulty?" and, "When does generosity come easily?" The question that haunts me this morning is the difficulty with generosity one. I'm least generous with my patience, particularly with the community. It ironic. I see myself as a champion for decision making based in waiting, listening, and discernment, but struggle when the community seems slow to catch on or catch up to some new idea I've thrown into the mix. I think that once I feel I have a sense of God's leading, I'm impatient to move to the action stage. When I complain, the rest of the Team and/or Elders usually remind me that I've had the luxury of time to reach clearness so shouldn't be surprised that others(especially others who are trying to squeeze church stuff into already overtaxed lives)need time as well. That's true. Then I am reminded that its also true that I present ideas in language that is usually way too abstract. Okay, that is a problem, too. Then I'm reminded that some of my ideas are way beyond realistic for our community. Yeah, there's that, too. OK.

Those reminders temper my impatience but really don't help me with its source. Maybe its fear of stagnancy, or a misunderstanding about leadership. Maybe its because I sometimes lose energy when an idea gets to the nuts and bolts of implementation. Maybe because I'm 60 and feel like time is of the essence. Whatever the reason, I need to take time to put voice to the gratitude I feel for the community and their generosity with their time and energy and resources. I am often moved nearly to tears at the wonderful faithfulness of so many people who give time to the community in worship, planning, ministry, fellowship, and outreach. I probably need to focus more on the process than the outcome, too. Or, maybe I should shut up, take a couple of Advil, forget all these projects and go back to bed.
Now there's an idea with my name on it. Later.


Scot said...

Stan, you ask the questions: "When does generosity come with difficulty?" and, "When does generosity come easily?".

I am reminded of how in the book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explains how we change our behaviors to be more Christ-like. He stated that it is somewhat like putting on a mask. We may not feel like a generous person, or even care to be generous, yet, out of obedience to Christ, we purpose to put on the mask of generosity. Over the course of time, as we purpose to wear the mask of generosity, our face conforms to the mask. In time, then, our life reflects generosity that is now part of our character.

So, when is it difficult for me to be generous? At the beginning of the journey of generosity. When does generosity come easier? After having willed myself to put on the mask of generosity and trusting God that obedience makes sense, even when I really don't want to be generous.

revheard said...


Sorry to hear that you haven't been well. Having been struck with some chest bug the past week, I empathise.

I do wonder whether generosity is a matter of sacrifice? If it requires something costly from me, can it ever come easy? Or is generosity something that flows from a light hold on things that are important?

Can I be generous with my time if I have nothing on my plate? Generosity with no cost might in fact be something else. Not sure...

Hope you are back on top and fighting fit!

Thorny Quaker said...

Thanks, Gary. Yeah I think it has a lot to do with a "light hold" on things. The process of learning detachment or "to care and not to care" is a ongoing and difficult path.

Anonymous said...

Giving is difficult except when it comes from within. Its like that small still voice inside us.....if we are listening we will know its time to give, The thing that we give be it ourself, our time, our money or that new 35" TV I lifted from the neighbors....we will not rest until we give it.


P.s. (never admit you get sick and you never will)