Sharing Christ is worth the struggle. I have seen the need of the people. I put myself in their place, and I see them as I was before Christ. The need that I had before, they have now. And all my effort is so that they can understand what I was before, and what I am now.
The Principle of the Airplane Oxygen Mask
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to airplane instructions, I tend to zone out. I’ve been on airplanes enough to hear the instructions repeated over and over again that I can probably recite them by heart. And so when the instructions come in one ear, it quickly exits out the other ear. How foolish of me, and even prideful of me, but I’m not alone.
Why would we ever decide to tune out instructions that could save our lives? Are we so quick to dismiss things just because they’ve become routine? Are we too comfortable that we don’t ever think we can be in danger? I don’t know.
However, I see ministry like this at times. I’m constantly helping others and tending to the needs of others. This is my first mistake. I’m running on my own oxygen, or rather, the oxygen I have left. How can I help others when I haven’t helped myself to more oxygen? And so comes the Principle of the Airplane Oxygen Mask. If God gives us the breath of life (Genesis 2:6-7), then He is like oxygen. We can’t help others if we’re running low on oxygen (God). And so, we must first fix the oxygen mask on ourselves. And only after we’ve helped ourselves, we could then help others.
(Image via Enemy of Debt)
Yup, this happens in ministry sometimes. :D
In this short video interview, Dallas Willard talks about a praying life instead of a having a good prayer life. His comment is it’s about the cultivation of a life of devotion instead of having a good devotional life. This has me pinned this morning, thinking, how well do I actually live this out? How well do I actually integrate the things of God into every activity in my day? Do I pursue a life of devotion or do I seek good times of devotion with the understanding that they will somehow take care of the rest of my day? Is my day truly a reflection of a praying life?
My questioning and my reflection is challenging me to see that my relationship with God isn’t an activity, it isn’t limited to a Sunday church service, or a specific time. Truly, everything is a spiritual activity. Every moment in this day is a God given moment. If this is so, my hunch is my stewardship would be that I would seek to have a praying life and a life of devotion. That my walk with God can not be limited to a blocks of time, that it must be something that I seek to fully integrate into everything I do, albeit a seemingly spritual activity or not.
Towards the end, Dallas speaks to a life of ministry, and he says that “we have a life of ministry when we learn to abandon our lives to God.” I believe this could be a catalytic for me if I can see that my ministry isn’t limited to a position, a title, or being in full time ministry. Surely there are components to full time ministry that I appreciate very much, but wouldn’t that be devestating to the masses if to have a life of ministry we had to be in full time ministry? Ah ha, I see, we are all in full time ministry, we all have a message, a ministry, as a messenger, to our master, our Father God.
The practical application is will I be aware, will I pay attention to what God is doing at all times, in all of my meetings, in everything I do. This is good, this is doable, and it excites me very much.
Dallas lands much of this with the source of his strength, and he beautifully speaks to the presence of God for his life and ministry. That this presence isn’t just something he talks about but it truly is real, and it is the fuel to his motivation. There is a verse in the old testament that says, “Not by power, nor by might, but by his spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the presence of God, our counselor, who is with us at all times, is all we have to do is be aware and invite him into our daily dance, to our life.
Thank you Mr. Dallas Willard, you’ve been a source of inspiration.