My GPS is set to take me to my destination the fastest way humanly possible. I will zoom any which way to get where I’m going, focused on only two things: the speedometer and the clock. That’s what matters most – doing life and ministry in the best, fastest, most efficient way possible, right?
Two Ways To Go
To be clear, following a lamb is not a smart move if you want to get somewhere important fast. But if you want to see some nice countryside, it’s the best way to travel. Additionally, if you’re looking for efficiency and comfort, take the freeway; the farmyard route is for enjoyment and simplicity. It is not for the savvy business person who is busy closing deals, the frantic overloaded parent, or the pragmatic pastor or ministry leader — it’ll just stress you out. The farmyard route is for those who can inhale and tell you the flavor of the air; it’s for those who can take the time to choose where to put their next step.
The farmyard route is utterly refreshing, like the crisp fall air on your face as you step out your front door. But it’s foreign to most. Very few slow down to notice their own positioning in space, let alone the environments they inhabit. To look beyond the basic dimensions for the feel, smell, flavor, and sound that fills their God-given senses in the God-ordained spaces they occupy.
Sadly, all of the things we think will fill our lives with purpose and value: the titles, church growth, the better/newer/nicer ministry tools, will do nothing to bring life to our souls. They cannot fill what only the wonder of simplicity will. God’s creation, in it’s profound and beautiful complexity, presents itself to us on the most basic level as dew on rocks, dirt with footprints in it, smells of pollen, rays of sunshine, and lengthening shadows in the afternoon.
When was the last time you noticed the world around you? Engaged your senses and let it be an experience of drawing your faculties to the power of God in his world?
That is what I’m getting at when I talk about, following the lamb. The full quote is “following the Lamb along a farmyard route.” (E. Peterson) It is a lifestyle of mindful awareness as we follow Jesus through the creation he brought into existence.
This quote about lambs and farmyards comes from Eugene Peterson, a man who faithfully worked, pastored, and wrote on the spiritual condition of the Western church for many decades. Whether you like him or not his overwhelming observation was that we have chosen the way of the world over the ways of God, the pragmatic over the faithful, and the efficient over the weakness that mark those who worship Jesus as Lord.
God is not hiding his goodness from us, he’s inviting us to simply know and enjoy him in all spheres of our life by slowing down to see him in all we do, see, and experience.
Time To Look Up
Pastor, where do you need to experience God’s power and might around you? And where have you focused on the speedometer and the clock so much that you’ve missed it?
I pray we might begin to live our lives and lead our churches in such a way that seeks to follow Jesus, the Lamb of God, down the simple and beautiful farmyard route he invited us along. The things we think matter, from dental appointments to school districts, quite simply do not hold weight in light of what God offers us.
Behold his beauty in his work and creation. Let us not seek the ways of the world, but seek the Kingdom found in our Savior who had rough tradesman hands, dusty traveler feet, sweat-drenched clothes, and a rough, bearded face. There is nothing efficient in him, nothing the world of power would envy, but in him is life — life abundant and life eternal. Look up from your attendance and giving metrics long enough and you might just notice him.