There is a delicate balance to be kept in this life of faith. One that is so fragile and tenuous that we must pay careful attention to it, lest we fall off one side of the fence or another in the tension between doing and being. Life can get so busy and chaotic at times that we hardly even notice it's happening; that's the tricky part. The urgent can take precedence over the important and before you know it you have subtly drifted into a dark and weary land. That's why it is so important to keep the pattern Jesus showed us in Luke 10:15-17 on the forefront of our minds. It is a pattern that repeats itself over and over again in the life of faith: Jesus takes the bread, then he blesses the bread, then he breaks the bread, and then he gives the bread.
We are all people who are constantly being given on a regular basis, oftentimes in numerous areas simultaneously. So being given is not typically the problem. The problem occurs when we separate being given from being taken, blessed, and broken. Each of the four movements of this dance of life and faith (and particularly ministry) is vitally necessary. All are interdependent. But all to often we jump straight to being given before we make the space to be taken, blessed, and broken--much to our own demise. For it is only after we have allowed God to take us tenderly and lovingly into his hands and his heart, and to bless us by infusing us with his words and Spirit of goodness and affection and life, and then to gently (and not so gently if necessary) break us of our independence and our pride and our need for control, that we can fruitfully, authentically, and powerfully be given. For if we skip those first three steps, we will soon end up tired and depleted, burnt-out and exhausted, or lifeless and shallow; which will be no good to anyone. Being given is not an end in itself, we must indeed have something to give before we rush into the world to try and feed them with our meager five loaves and two small fish. Therefore, we must make sure, as the disciples did, that we first give all that we have to Jesus, for only then will we have anything of eternal value to offer the hungry multitudes.
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