This is my friend Stuart.
He is awesome.
He started growing an Israel beard. He decided that he would grow an Israel beard when he was in Israel.
He wussed out and shaved it not long ago.
It’s okay though, because if you refer to the second sentence in this entry, you will find out that he is awesome. I am sure that he had a perfectly legitimate reason for shaving his beard.
He also pastors a church called Radius. Radius is pretty much made up of broken people. These same broken people are on a mission to bring peace, love and order, or what I will henceforth call Shalom, to a broken world. It is a beautiful thing.
Stuart and I experienced things together while in Israel that cannot be put into words. We did come back with a clearer vision of what God has been doing since the beginning and what He will continue to do. From the very moment He breathed life into Adam, He has been seeking to partner with His most beloved creation. He extended His hand to mankind to push back chaos with Shalom.
That was the job.
That is the job.
Whether it is working and tending the Garden of Eden, or stepping into the blinding chaos of your neighbour — the job is to bring Shalom.
Yes, that includes getting saved…don’t worry. But it doesn’t stop there. We tend to think that “getting saved” is what it is all about. It is not.* If it was, that mandate would have been stated before Adam chose to sin, or what we call the Fall — and that just does not make sense. Before the Fall, there would have been nothing from which to be saved. There was however, before the Fall, a clear mandate to work. To tend a garden. To trim the trees. To plow the unplowed ground. To make paths. To tenderly clear an expanse for lush green grass to flourish. To bring order, to bring Shalom to a wild garden that was loaded with potential.
There is still work to be done.
Eden is over.
Things are messy.
Chaos is all around, even in our own lives.
God still extends His hand to us, longing to partner with His beloved creation to bring Shalom in a world that cries out for it.
It is a calling we all desire, but few really embrace.
It is encouraging to see someone else actually go for it. To really go for it. I mean, from the depths of their soul, they chase it. Pursue it with reckless abandon. To take chances that scare most people. To honestly trust God by stepping first into the swirling and chaotic waters.
This is my friend Stuart.
*I will expound on this thought at a later time. Let me say though, that before we can effectively bring God’s Shalom to a chaotic world, it does start with Jesus. It starts with a dependence upon him and what he did on the cross — that his death was enough to satisfy God’s justice. Jesus’ sacrifice of himself, a sinless offering, was enough.