Friday, June 12, 2009
Compass (Intro to Core Values)
In West Texas where I grew up I rarely ever got lost. Why? Because there were no trees, very few clouds, hardly anything to obstruct ones view. Even when I moved to Dallas back in ’93 I never had much of a problem getting around. Though it was a big city I could usually find my bearings pretty easily. I never had much of a problem getting lost until I moved to Hammond, Louisiana about 15 years ago. You would think that because it was a small town it would be pretty easy to navigate around but I found out very quickly that I knew a whole lot of people who didn’t live in the actual town of Hammond but on the outskirts in places with strange sounding names like Pumpkin Center, Tickfaw, Loranger, and Blood River to name a few. And I found that many of the times when I was trying to go to a friend’s house my normally good sense of direction was obscured by trees and clouds, and further frustrated by the many Louisiana roads on which there are no trace of street signs.
My initiation into life in Louisiana included being introduced for the first time in my life to a type common type of driving directions that would go something like… “Well you need to go down that road about a half a mile until you come to an old gas station… pass the gas station and turn right on the black top just after the dirt road and then you will go down about a quarter mile until you see a huge oak tree… turn left on the dirt road and you will pass 2 dirt roads and a cow pasture and then our house is on the right…” So, needless to say, I spent a whole lot of time lost in those first few years that I lived in Louisiana.
My early years of getting lost in the Hammond area serve as a picture of how life is for many folks. We have an idea of where we are trying to go but getting there becomes confusing because of the trees, clouds, and lack of signs. So we begin looking to cues from our culture or society or even from other Christians to help us find our way… and sometimes we get there. But many times because we have no accurate way of maintaining our bearings we just end up adrift pushed to and fro by the waves of culture, the opinions of others, and our own impulsiveness.
There is a popular term in evangelical Christianity for those who have not found faith in Christ—“Lost”. As the great hymn Amazing Grace puts it, “I once was lost but now am found…” There is an understanding that apart from Jesus we are lost in this world meandering with no sense of direction or destination. Many have found this word a fitting description of their life before having faith in Christ. However when we surrender to Jesus our whole life begins to orient around him, life becomes clearer, our steps more sure, our purpose more clear. As we follow Jesus, and orient our lives around him, he frees us up to be our true selves. And from that point faith begins giving rise to our core values—values that, like a compass, will help us keep our bearings no matter where we may be.