Last post I wrote about the verse that says we are to boast of our weaknesses so that Christ's power is evident. (2 Corinthians 12:9) So it's my goal to be as open and weak here, in written word, as I am in my private thoughts. (Could be scary! ...for both of us!)
Boy, it makes for a depressing blog, but I've got to start off again by saying that I, like most people I'm sure, heard 'cancer' and thought 'death.' It took me more nearly three weeks to find out what my "official" numbers are at survival, and during those weeks I had a lot of time to think. About death and life.
Sunday's sermon was about thriving, not just surviving. And some of the scriptures we read really hit home.
"Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'" Luke 13:6-9
The parable is about Christians who are just surviving when God is calling them to thrive. It's this parable that spells out what I've been feeling for three weeks- I've got to produce! I will produce, Jesus! Please don't cut me down!
I've been reading Radical by David Platt. (What do you mean you don't have this book yet! Get to the book store now!) It's all about un-learning the American Dream. I'm very guilty of what he talks about. I have been a Christian for years, but I've only served when it fit into my life or my schedule. And since I've wanted nothing more than to be a mommy since I was young, you can only imagine how often I put my kid's comfort and pleasures first, only to "run out of time" to serve. I followed the American dream- me first, everything else next.
But what God is telling me is that I'd already been given much. I had the American Dream. Not by my own work or the sweat of my own brow- by His grace. I'd been given my family, my wonderful husband, my HEALTH. "...From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded..." Luke 12:48b God had to take something away for me to realize how much I had and how much He was requiring of me.
Our pastor reminded us that the fig tree in the verse hadn't produced for three years, yet it was still given one more chance. I wrote in my bulletin: "I'm out of chances." I've been lazy, selfish. Not producing. God's warned me- this is my last chance.
"The ax is already at the root of the trees; and every tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down into the fire." Luke 3:9
I circled that in my notes. The ax is already at the root.
Listen, I can see my ax. I can see that I'm on my last chance. In a way my cancer is a blessing that allows me to have that glimpse into the works of God. To gain that perspective. But, like Terry wrote before, do you have a cancer that you can't see? Are you producing, serving, making disciples? Or are you living the American dream while the ax is already at the root?
When we came back from the hospital on the day we got the great news that my cancer hadn't spread beyond the nodes, Terry picked up the laptop and begin to write. I remember thinking he must have been writing a thank you. Writing of his joy or excitement. But he wasn't. He, like me, sees the ax and wants to change things and press forward. No more rest for us-- we've been given much. Given MUCH! I'm still here! Everyday I'm still here is a blessing! I've been given M U C H!
Much is required.