One of my favorite quotes comes from one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite books, (yes, I am plugging a book). “You’re never less alone than when you are by yourself.” – Henri Nouwen – The Way of the Heart, Desert Spirituality for Contemporary Ministry
I love that quote because it speaks of God’s presentness, especially when you’re all by yourself. I’ve had a pretty busy week this week, going from meeting to meeting from interaction to interaction and in each encounter I have a tendency to code switch to meet each person’s openness to God. I kind of morphed to fit each person’s need. It can be a tedious thing for me to have so many meetings back to back. That’s why I have to make sure to always spend adequate time with God. It’s in His presence that I am reminded of who I am. And to be honest, it seems as though each day I learn a new facet of who I am as he grows me to be like Him.
I’m going somewhere, hang with me. So, there is this mentality that I believe that is incredibly biblical, to meet folks where they are and bring them to God. Paul lived it, and said in 1st Corinthians 9, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Paul lived for the glory of God, not for the glory of men. Men do things to impress one another, to entice one another. They lie and manipulate so that they can gain others. Picture one of those slimy business pyramids that promise you can make lots of money if you just come under this one guy and get 10 others to come under you. Yeah, that’s the way men of the world do it.
But God waits in the quiet places. He waits on the sidelines for us to draw near to Him. Paul knew this and did it. He didn’t live for the praise or popularity of men. He lived for the pleasure of God. And as a result He became one of the mightiest men who ever lived. But he did it primarily in the quiet places. He was fully capable of pulling people’s heart strings, but he did’nt. As a result his ministry was effective, he was effective, and God was glorified. Listen to this passage that reveals Paul’s stunning abilities and true humility and servitude.
2nd Corinthians 10:10 “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”
Paul let God teach him who He was. When lying on the bed at night Paul was the kind of guy who had visions of heavenly things beyond measure, He experienced abundant life and just like Jesus he humbled himself before men, becoming a slave to God’s will… that he just might save one. Being impressive is overrated. Being “cool” is dumb. How about what God desires for us?
Who are you when you are alone? Let’s let the Father show us, and let that be who we are.