Jan. 15th, 2006 | 10:39 pm
A number of years ago I found myself drafted on short notice to teach a bible class. Not having a prepared lesson, I was struck by the thought that perhaps it would be a good to ask the class participants to share some spiritual milestones in their lives; hoping I and others would gain some helpful insights. This seemed to be a good idea because I had recently been contemplating my spiritual journey and was in the process of identifying what I considered to be spiritual milestones in my life. Spiritual milestones being those events or circumstances which reveal God’s working in one’s life. At the very least, it seemed to be an easy way to get through the class period without being prepared and would be encouraging to all of us.
What happened was very different than what I had expected. I introduced the question, with some brief explanation of spiritual milestones, and then opened the floor for responses. As I looked into the eyes of the class members there was nothing but blank stares. There were no responses. This was astounding to me. This group consisted of what could be described as the “core” of the church family. If there was a list of the “faithful”, most of the class members would be on it.
Finally, most likely out of embarrassment for me, one of the most faithful spoke up. He spent several minutes sharing the occasion of his baptism as a young man. There was no other comment. Somehow I managed to struggle though the rest of the class.
I have thought a lot about that class. There are several possible explanations for an absence of responses. It may have been that I did not clearly define my request and they were confused and therefore unwilling to speak. There could have been any number of reasons related to the circumstances of the class or personalities etc. But I have concluded there was something much deeper and fundamental to our faith. At one level I believe there were some who simply believe God would not, cannot or does not need to work in their lives. He has given us what we need and it is up to us to use what he has given and then he will judge us on how we did when we meet him in eternity. This is not a belief that they would admit if asked directly, but their lives betray them. Spiritual milestones, God working in their life, are not a part of their experience and therefore they had no basis for responding to my question. For them, what is most important are the rituals of religion and their compliance to God’s rules.
On another level, I think there were many who, like myself, believe that God works in their lives, but they have not really stopped to think about their lives and identify those events and circumstances where God worked in wonderful and mysterious ways to guide us in our journey. I believe it is important that we take the time and energy to recount our lives and identify those milestones. Spiritual milestones are essential to our God story and our testimony to our families and to the world. Our faith will be strengthened as we see how wonderful and faithful God has been.
It is my intention to record in this journal my spiritual milestones so I will be reminded of God’s faithfulness and they can become a testimony to others so God may be glorified.