There’s a scene in the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” in which the character defending Jerusalem asks the character besieging it, “What is Jerusalem worth?” The two have just concluded negotiating peace by the surrender of the city with no harm to its people. The numbers are clearly on the attacker’s side, but victory by violence will cost – has already cost – many, many lives. The response to the question: “Nothing! Everything!” There is so much meaning in those two simple words, especially when put together like that.
As I considered what to call today’s post, that scene came to mind. I was looking back on my journal from April 2010 -an entry entitled “What do I believe God for?” and that “Nothing! Everything!” answer struck me as fitting for so many questions:
– What’s changed in six years?
– What do I believe God for?
– What can I ask of my readers?
– What can I accomplish right now, right this moment?
What’s changed in six years? Here’s what I wrote 4/7/10:
“Feeling … overwhelmed by all that I think I should do/be doing – futuristically; attempting/planning too many things – without word from God? Promise? What promise is from Him vs for myself?”
This overwhelmed feeling is quite familiar to me. But what’s new is my realization that for much of 2014-15, I could literally do nothing or very little due to my health, and I had experienced a break from it. I could have no immediate plans, other than an acceptance of whatever God would bring next. What do I believe God for? Life or death. Everything or nothing. This is the peace that surpasses, I am sure. Have I learned how to feel it now that I am ‘healed’?
What am I, really, right now?
Back then, I was husband, father, part-time employed, looking to change careers to one of helping ‘the least of these’. Today, I am first God’s, then Barb’s, and a person living “recovery” in many ways. I’m physically unhealthy. I sometimes feel fine, but dialysis three times a week, for four hours at a sitting (and then needing to sleep the rest of the day) is evidence to the contrary.
I remain an addict – no longer to substances, but behaviorally I remain obsessive and compulsive, procrastinating, avoiding, and isolating. I have to watch myself for wanting mood alterations, reality alternatives and escapism, and self-destructive but pleasant-feeling activities. (Think the frog in the water being brought to a boil – it’s like a hot tub!)
I’m still a quitter, a project-non-finisher – like in a video game that I’d rather start over or just stop playing because I suck at it and am losing (according to the scoreboard). Except in life, there’s no do-overs.
Or are there? My journal entry for today:
For a time to come – only temporary, although longer-term – I’ve been given the circumstances of disability “income”, while I am second-chance careering-careening into writing, performing, entertaining – presentertaining – for God and Christ, sharing my testimony (Sharing God’s Story) for the glory of God. I have done none of this – He has made all possible. He will provide.
So, I am becoming a “sharerer” of testimony, of talents, of time. AKA a volunteer.
But what can I ask of my readers? Nothing, yet everything. I’ve visited churches where the offering is fully left to the people. There are boxes scattered about the meeting hall, and, if you feel you’ve been served, you donate money. Otherwise, you contribute whatever service you can. Everything you can. Or nothing. And I hear of restaurants based on the same principle: the customer gives whatever amount he or she feels is deserved. Or the “pay it forward” places, where customers purchase in advance for those who can’t afford. I wonder if the recent appeal of socialism is some kind of moral off-shoot of this concept.
I wonder I can ask my readers and listeners to support me?
And now I’m a grandparent. My children have chronologically matured, and need me for less – or, at least, need me in different ways. I can’t even begin to tell you about this newness yet. Nothing! Everything! (More on this later.)
It comes down to what I can accomplish in just this moment. Nothing! Everything! Because life is right now, one step, one moment at a time. The Bible says to Rejoice Always, Pray without Ceasing, and in Everything, Give Thanks. It teaches us to live the fruit of the spirit: peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It gives hints on how to be a good husband and parent (or grandparent). It holds the clues on how to continue…