First, baby steps
August 17, 2005
How I wish I knew ten years ago what I know today. However, life's lessons come in the course of living. As much as I think I would have benefited if someone had told me this earlier, experience is central to God's pedagogy.
First, we must learn to run on foot before we can compete with horses. We learn first to walk on smooth land before we can take on rough terrain.
There are two ingredients in Jeremiah's picture: we begin at the beginning. Vision and drive notwithstanding, there is only one way to learn:walk before we run. For those in mid or late vocation, the failures we see in the rear view mirror are troubling. However, we learn by stumbling. Navigating is a learned skill.
Robert Clinton, in The Making of a Leader, breaks up life and ministry experience into six phases. Phase five is "convergence," a time in which there is a match of gift-mix, experience, temperament and opportunity. "In convergence, being and spiritual authority form the true power for mature ministry." It is by the converging of experience, giftings and opportunities that we are able to take on more difficult callings.
Lord, today as I look out on the issues that need insight, the relationships that need caring and the unknowns in need of your leading, help me to trust that the life experiences of the past and the constant leading of your Spirit will connect at the right time and place for your kingdom and glory. Amen.
"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?"