Grist and Catalyst

"Gather your material, and set it alight when you speak." Oswald Chambers

Life is made up of near infinite influences and events. And as much as I hate to cite another's quote in order to make a similar point of my own, it must be realized that we stand on the shoulders of our forebears. The shoulders of giants. With reference to that which came before, both the influence of others and all of the input you've received elsewhere, do you realize that all of that has made you what your are? Well, that, and the little thing known as "your reaction to it".

"In all your ways acknowledge Him..." (Proverbs 3:6)

How many ways? If God "works all things together for good to them that love Him" (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine), are we realizing that everything we encounter, all of the seemingly insignificant things that we deal with, day in and day out, are telling? They, and our choice of fielding them or ignoring them, are making us into what we will become. In order to bring all of our powers to bear to realize Jesus in this life, it takes a seismic reorientation of our faculties from the way of the world to a way of thinking that is more in line with Jesus and His. Our actions flow from a renewed mind. If we think this is hard, maybe we should reimagine our opinions of what "hard" and "easy" are. See, if we think living the Christian life is hard, then we must think that the alternative is easy. And it goes without saying that we think (however subtly) that easy is good. Jesus said that "wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). In other words, it's easy to do just the opposite of that which we're called to do after we believe on and in Jesus. Seen this way, easy is most definitely not a good thing. My brother came up with a phrase once, I wrote it down: "The easy work of belief is as hard as your heart."

"And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:6)

That was quick. If you read the above verse, and then link it to the paragraph prior, you might think that the process by which we reorient our feelings according to the standards of Jesus is fast and painless and easy. That's okay because we're learning that God is utterly exacting in his methods and that if we truly want to lay down our lives to follow Him, He—eventually—will put His finger on every part of our lives, past and present, that's not up to His standards. I think we know this deep down and in the back of our minds.

God is economical. This means He can work with everything that we choose to bring Him. No matter what it is, everything is grist for the mill. Everything will be ground down by the slow wheels of time and yield something altogether different than that like which it looked initially. The perfection on our part is the act of acknowledging Him in love with everything we can. Ask Him what He thinks. Find some touchstone of acknowledgment before Him.

"That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:" (1 Corinthians 15:36-37)

So take your time. Savor the instances and interactions and interstices of your life. All the boredom, all the odd dreams, all the flashes of hope. Everything that comes across your field of vision is worth sharing with God. "The steps of a good man (and woman) are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in [their] way." (Psalm 37:23, emphasis mine) In other words, it all means something to Him.

In closing and as an aside. There's no open flame allowed inside of a grain silo. The dry particulate content in the air will explode. Physically, agriculturally, that's a bad thing. Creatively? Metaphorically? One spark, one touch from God is all it takes to "set alight" that which you thought was all unconnected throughout your life. God's catalyst will come and it'll all make sense.

Shades of Green

Nothingness for the Philosophaster