I am becoming quite the fan of Wikipedia. Maybe it’s the ready availability of being only one screen away from a launching point of definition when terms come to mind? Maybe it’s the mind, growing older and now in need of quick prompts?
Wikipedia defines commodity as the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Life certainly provides everyone with some level of marketability; it’s the utility of that market that differentiates each person and their capacity for meeting their needs and satisfying their wants.
However, I would mislead if I left out the one deciding factor in my life, that being my faith. Since childhood, I have been aware of a force in my life that has been an override for my mistakes, substantiation (back to Wikipedia) of some outside gift against my weak character, poor follow-thru; often a just in time monument, placed intermittent to keep me on track toward my calling.
Now approaching the fortieth year since my surrender to that reality, I find myself hopeful that some Moses like breakthrough is in store. Though I have killed no Egyptians in my zeal (my apologies for any unintended implications), I have certainly had my time in the desert, though losing little vision of what life could be with a little more help from the I Am. Maybe it’s time to cross the Red Sea. Hear the hope?
I must concede to the fact that my life, unlike so many, has been surrounded with good, praying people, honest in their religion and at times powerful in their availability to God. I have seen miracles and yes, have even heard the voice of God as a child, who’s voice one can never escape once offered that reality and rare privilege.
Yet, my humanity has always been quite the strong force, and like Moses, I have my skeletons. However, from my early days of roaming the streets of Winston-Salem (Happy 100th Birthday), I was always looking for an identity, though fortunate that gang activity had not yet reached our community. I will never understand why at the age of nine, I heard the voice of the Lord, in a moment when those around me were distracted by play. The word: “One day you will preach the gospel.”
Many of my friends, especially those with whom my parents had me churched, would have grabbed a microphone and begun just that. I frankly never shared that Word with anyone until much later in life; in fact, I seemed to lose touch with much of that until the night of January 3, 1973. That was the night, now forty years ago, that I would come head long into a God-moment that would forever change my life.
Though the months following that night would steer me back toward formal religion and church activity, my life has taken a completely different bent than many a preacher recommended. Though somewhat rebellious, I love sharing my faith and if it be mercy one is in need of, I can “preach the gospel.” If it is religion one is after, I find myself struggling still, almost as if I have been kept from “settling into the work of the Lord,” the remedy offered by my second pastor as I began to veer from the path of the typical bi-vocational assistant clergy, which I had taken up by 1978.
My call has always been toward community, sharing the Good News yes, but seldom from a conventional pulpit. Now forty years on the other side, with experience in the institutions of education, religion and now politics, I find them all grossly wanting, however, necessary in some strange way.
Holding three degrees and twenty plus years in public educations, I cannot comprehend a society without such an opportunity; yet, the system seems ever to lag behind the needs of society, trendiest at best, inflexible and seldom efficient.
Religion, man’s attempt at relationship with God, seems no better. It has provided us with costly brick and mortar on every corner in America, and thousands of interpretations of the same God; now battling a generation raised under the influence of those same sanctuaries, each with their own explanation of His/Her existence or non-existence.
Politics, well consider the recent fiscal cliff as enough said.
So, God, we have been together, sharing life formally for 40 years…64 plus, if I count the time in my mother’s womb. You have provided for many of my wants and all of my needs, as we have marketed the gifts given. And yes, I have been about “preaching the Gospel,” though somewhat more edgy and often raw than many desire;indicative that I may not have yet reached the mark of your high calling.
Perhaps, like the one we know as Moses, who’s burning bush experience causes mine to pale, this could be the time to throw down my rod, let down my defenses and yes, as those who read Joseph Prince will recognize, acknowledge the curse, the serpent contained in my own efforts. Maybe 2013 will be the year that I step into a higher place with the Great I Am, offering my life, my only true commodity, fully to you. In essence,trading up!
Notes: 1. Joseph Prince Ministries, Daily Grace Inspirations, “Take the Snake by the Tail.” 12/30/2013.