Count the cost before you follow me.
I require more than you now foresee.
Will you seize this joyful slavery,
Or do you prefer captivity?
Six guys from college have kept in touch consistently over the last number of years. Cade, Dustin, Jeff, Kevin, Will, and myself have shared encouragement, accountability, and laughs through seasons of difficulty as well as seasons of joy. Last year, they challenged me to write a blog post or a poem on any subject of their choosing for each of their birthdays. This year, they collaborated on a poem for mine. I suggested they write about the brotherhood of believers, using our group as an example, and I’m excited to share their work with you below.
No man was meant for the hermit’s Operation
How some men will stand the opposition of wormwood
No man was meant for the pure role of heroic.
Binded by the Lamb’s blood running through our veins.
A fan of these, as well as soccer.
Go hand in hand like Joe and witty.
A man like Joe, there could never be another.
How then must these truths be taken?
None other than creating mancation!
A dream to most
We created a weekend of chaos, I must boast
But in the Cross that is
For it is no credit of our own, this work is simply His.
The game playing,
coffee drinking and steak eating will fade.
But this brotherhood is fraternal.
It cannot be broken, for this bond is eternal.
•HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOE THE WALLER•
Today, my message may be a bit redundant. I want to highlight a point that almost everyone I read or listen to on the subject of writing seems to say: if you want to be a writer, you need to be a reader. Among the exhortations given to aspiring writers, the call to read is one of the most consistent, and for good reason. And while I know the idea verges on the cliche, I also know it took me far too long to actually understand the importance of reading in the life of a writer.
I feel the pain but cannot find the benefit.
The path I would have chosen seemed a better fit.
Yet tests portend the sacrifice. I see my wraith
Point to my cross and call me to walk forth by faith.
Faith does not promise answers, bids me follow still;
Points past my understanding to the Father’s will;
Grounds hope not in the knowing but in being known;
Endures uncertainty certain of heaven’s throne.
Faith fixes focus not on the ephemeral
But finds eternal joy within the temporal.
It lays aside success and loss for higher gain
And trusts the one who gives and takes to justly reign.
Obedience bids me to die to self in this,
To trust the process in this brief parenthesis.
The work you do is good, as it shall always be.
Steadfast unto perfection is the course for me.
We live in a culture of busy Christians. I read stories of the stresses of pastoral ministry driving pastors away from the church and into sinful lifestyles. I hear the struggles of my fellow seminarians as they attempt to juggle the demands of school and ministry and work, often walking the edge of burnout as they long for rest. I understand the weight of many responsibilities, often feeling both burdened by the load yet unable to slow down. We whose lives are marked by busyness would do well to remind ourselves of Jesus’s words on the subject of obedience.
The moment passes, same as all the rest,
Save for an added weight, a seeming force.
Some see in it the ending of a test.
Some find in it the start of a new course.
We hope to lay aside all that is past
And welcome future’s possibilities.
We hope to make a change and make it last.
We often miss the forest for the trees.
For ev’ry day behind has led to now,
The good and bad both mingled in the soul.
Experience informs our present plod.
Find hope not in a momentary vow
But in the one who truly holds control.
Entrust this and all moments to your God.
I had a lot on my plate that day. I’d chosen a seat in the student center so I could drink some coffee while I worked, and I was hoping I could avoid people long enough to get some work done. Typically, however, such attempts were unsuccessful, and that day was no exception.
I want to read but cannot find the time.
Responsibilities fill ev’ry day
With tasks and cares I dare not cast away,
And reading, sadly, can’t always be prime.
And on the rare occasions when the time
Presents itself with freedom to peruse
A poem or a chapter (which to choose?)
Uninterrupted (oh the joy sublime!),
I find my eyes work only for a time
Before I catch myself rereading lines
While heavy eyelids cover eyes that pine
After the peaks I’ve grown too tired to climb.
So words within my reach remain unread
As I desire books not so much as bed.
On Saturday, I attended a wedding. The following Thursday, I attended a funeral. This upcoming Tuesday, I’ll celebrate a birth. All three events are about endings and beginnings, and the first two events, though quite different from each other, find meaning in the third. Continue reading
The wood was rough, but it would serve him well.
He chose it not for elegance or style
But for its faithfulness. A little while
(And, too, a little work) and he could sell
It with a workman’s pride. And he could tell,
Though now it lay unstructured in a pile,
That with some nails, a hammer, and a file,
His work would not be broken though it fell.
Its strength would bear its strength one dark noel
(The first of all). And in its content’s smile
Was love born now to one day reconcile
On other wood, the darkness to dispel.
His parents smiled as into sleep he fell.
The wood was rough, but it would serve him well.