Christianity 201

June 29, 2011

Anyone Out There Totally in Love with God?

Today’s piece is from Jim Thornber, whose blog is actually named “Thinking Out Loud.”  (Great minds think out loud alike.)  Jim’s own story begins, “How does an Assemblies of God minister from Southern California find himself a monk in a Catholic-based community in Eureka Springs, AR?”  You can read that here.  This particular item appeared at his blog under the title I’m Still Calling the Shots in a series titled Scriptures That Bother Me.

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

Every Tuesday morning, I get together at a local coffee shop with a group of men from First Baptist Church. We spend about an hour and a half studying, praying for needs, challenging each other in our relationship with Christ and generally drinking too much coffee. It is one of the highlights of my week.

The other morning as we were studying Crazy Love by Francis Chan, someone asked if we knew anyone who was totally in love with God. You know, a completely sold-out, every fiber of their being doing little more than living, breathing, talking, thinking about and obeying Christ type of person.

We all got silent for a few moments as we racked our brains trying to think of someone we knew who was totally and completely sold out and in love with God. As the silence lingered, I thought it rather humorous that none of us at the meeting thought anyone at the table fit that description. Even the two pastors who were there, yours truly being one of them, weren’t named by anyone else in the group as being totally in love with Christ. Well, that was humbling!

The first person who came to my mind was Mark Buntain, who visited my Bible college in the early 80’s. A missionary to India, Mark founded Calcutta Mercy Ministries, which reaches the poorest in India through schools, a homeless shelter, massive feeding programs, orphanages and a large church. I remember hearing him teach in the chapel at college, and I was struck with his sincerity, complete humility, and absolute dedication to the work Christ called him to.

When he finished speaking, he didn’t come down front and meet the students like most every other every other speaker did, listening to their compliments and signing autographs. Instead, Mark turned around and dropped to his knees at the choir pew and engaged in prayer. That image is still burned in my mind.

I remember watching him walk alone through campus, oblivious to all the students and the beautiful scenery as he talked out loud to God, praying and praising the Lord as walked. He had one thing on his mind as he walked, and it wasn’t how he appeared to the students; it was how he appeared before the Lord God his Savior. And, if you stopped him and engaged him in conversation, he didn’t make you feel like you were interrupting him. However, you knew you were in the presence of one who spent his every waking hour walking with God.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). If that is true, that we are not our own, then why can I only think of a few people who actually live that way? I know I don’t. Sure, I claim Jesus is my Lord, but too often I live with myself calling the shots. How often have I prayed for guidance in ministry, only to edit where I’ll go based on the geography or size of the church without even consulting God?

This idea that I am not my own, that I was purchased by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, has been haunting me for a week, if only because I know the price that was paid and how I repay that price by leading my own life at my own convenience.

It is time I seriously consider making God the True Lord of my entire life. Maybe then, the next time someone asks if they know anyone completely and truly in love with and sold out to God, I might just come to someone’s mind.

~Jim Thornber