Henri Nouwen's classis book "Reaching Out: the three movements of the spiritual life" has been my spirngboard for devotions these past weeks. Nouwen is an artist describing the light and the dark, the joy and the pain, the fullness and emptiness of the pilgrim's life. Today, in the last chapter he wrote:
"...it is of special importantce to remind each other that, as members of the Christian community, we are not primarily for each other but for God. Our eyes should not remain fixed on each other but be directed forward to what is dawning on the horizon of our existence. The Christian community is not closed circle of people embracing each other, but a forward-moving group of companions bond together by the same voice asking for attention." (p. 154)
As I took these thoughts with me into prayer balanced Psalm 145, one phrase emerged ringing in my heart: "Not Yet" As I reflected on this phrase, turning it over and over, I realized how powerfully it tells the story. How are we doing God? Do we have the church just where you want it to be? Answer: Not Yet. Is my walk with Christ mature and done? Not Yet. After serving four churches, have I finally figured out how to lead and guide staff and leaders? Not Yet. As a father of adult children, have you finally learned how to love them and model Christ to them? Not Yet. As a husband, ahve you learned how to love your wife as Christ loved the church? Not Yet.
Take that phrase with you into your world. It works at too deep of a level. It injects a powerful dose of humilty into my heart. I'm far from done, so why should I demand perfection from everyone else? It creates a longing in me for more and deeper. I've tasted bits of kingdom...but not yet.