Aloha Friday Message – May 7, 2010 – My Mission

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Today’s Bible Verse 1 CORINTHIANS 15:10a
NIV: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. KJV: But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.

I am what I am. Today I am going back to last Sunday’s Healing Word: Testify. So what am I?

I am what I am. I can remember back in High School answering that question, or a form of that question, “Who Are You?” I was in a national youth group called Christian Endeavor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_People%27s_Society_of_Christian_Endeavour). When challenged with that question, we would respond, “I am a child of God first. I am a son and a brother second. I am … An officer in the Colorado CE Organization; A TJ Spartan; Charles O. Todd, III; and so on. As my life drew on and I learned more about the world, I became a student at Hope college, then at Metropolitan State College, then an Airman 2nd, then Crucita’s husband, a Med Tech, a manager, a graduate student. The first two answers pretty much stayed the same, but to the second one I added the roles of husband and father.

Now, as time goes by I am most like to answer “What/Who are you?” by saying, “I am old (and I am), or “I am happy (and that is definitely true), but there is more. I am what I am. “What are you?”

I am what I am, I am intolerant. Try as I might to shake it there are so many things that get to me in ways I do not like. I get flustered trying to deal with the things that irritate me, most especially with my own irritation. I say or do things that do not reflect what I profess. That is so irritating! Even those around me, especially those who love me most, are quick (and correct) to point out my intolerance and my flying off the handle when pushed to my very narrow limits. Sometimes I cannot tolerate my intolerance.

I am what I am. I am impatient. You can see and hear it when I am driving. It’s most flagrant when people speed past me going well over the speed limit, or run a stop sign without slowing down, or activate on their turn signal after they’ve started turning. Sounds a lot like intolerance, but it’s often quicker to flare up and quicker to burn out. The intolerance seems to last…well, way longer that I want. I am impatient when people can’t tell me, succinctly, what they need done or what is wrong. I am impatient when I have to do something over and over because of my mistakes or, worse, the mistakes of others.

I am what I am. I am self-important and arrogant to the point of being a jerk. I can remember arguing with a teacher that 5,200 read as fifty-two-hundred and should be written as 52,00. “My Dad says fifty-two-hundred dollars. I know that’s right!” I get an idea in my head and carry it to its “logical” (read absurd) extreme. When I have to back down, it’s a pretty noisy process. When I make a whopper-mistake, it is accompanied by lots of self-justification. That makes me feel and sound even more arrogant, and that makes me even more stubborn.

I am what I am. I am certainly stubborn. All of the above should make that clear. I am what I am, and it’s pretty hard to get me to be something else. Sometimes I have to pretend to be something else long enough that I can become that something else. I can leave out the most important understanding of something because I am too stubborn to let go of what I want. If you go back and look at the verse, St. Paul points out something that I overlook in all of these “I am” situations: “But, by the grace of God…”

So if I am all these things, how is that “by the grace of God?” He surely doesn’t want me to be like that, right? No, of course that is not what he wants. He wants me to be like him, but I just can’t seem to get there. So, what do you think he does about it?

He gets there for me. Think of your greatest failing or besetting sin, or whatever it is that creates disharmony between you and God and between you and the people he has given you to love. Think of that as a big pile of behaviors you just don’t want as part of your life, things you want to leave behind. Climb that big pile, stand on your tip-toes, and reach out as high and as far as you can. You will still not be able to reach what you need to pull you out of that mess, so Jesus will actually reach out to you and pull you up and away from all that.

If you want to be where Jesus is, you have to go where he is going; you have to follow him, run after him, reach out for him as if you were playing some sort of Celestial tag, and then, WHAM! He turns around and tags you. He calls you by name and takes you with him. And sometimes you don’t even have to chase after him; he just finds you on your pile and carries you away in Joy. Or if you are in the deepest pit of depression and desolation, he climbs down and gathers you up in his arms. Either way, you will find such serenity that you begin to wonder why you didn’t do that in the first place. After all, isn’t the first answer “I am a child of God?” How quickly we forget!

So, I am intolerant, impatient, arrogant, and stubborn (and a few more to be sure!). These thorns in my roses are reminders that I am weak and that he is strong. In Second Corinthians 12, Paul writes, “but he [Jesus] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” I don’t have much in the way of “insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints” in my life because he keeps blessing me no matter how badly I mess up. I have little or nothing to boast about except that when I am at my worst, he is there to humble me with his love and save me with his grace.

That brings to mind another image from those days in CE: A T-Shirt that said, “Be patient with me! God’s not finished with me yet.” And because of that, I am hopeful, happy, committed to him, and ready to plod on toward Calvary where my weaknesses will be washed away in his blood. There, when he was absolutely hopeless, helpless, and alone – that is when he called me by name. In doing so, he assures me, and everyone who hears his voce and follows him, that we need not be hopeless, helpless, or utterly alone “For lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” To prove that, he is always there to turn my intolerant, impatient, stubborn, arrogant, and sinful life into the very thing he is for all of us: Love.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

Please remember to keep praying for Justin, his mom and dad, and his siblings. A miracle is not out of the question; just pray it will be the miracle Justin, his family, and all his loved-ones need. Remember to give thanks for MG who wants us to praise God for the fact that she is doing so well in her battle against stomach cancer. Also rejoice with CW&GW that G’s tumor is g-o-n-e-gone. Pray for all the Peoples to value life over death and that all leaders will govern with morality, compassion, wisdom, and justice. Pray for the MBN that all of us will manifest the Love of God in all our weaknesses. His graces to us will not be without effect. To that I can testify. IT IS MY MISSION TO DO SO

chick

MY MISSION
and the values that support it
I am a Champion
My mission is to be a helper, whether by leading or by following, in all of the roles in my life.

➡ The first role is that of a family member. My mission is a sacred vocation to be son and brother, husband and father.

➡ The second role is that of intercessor. My mission is a willing obligation to be instant and constant in prayer for others.

➡ The third role is that of a servant. My mission is a prudent use of my God-given abilities to acquire and use knowledge and skills which can be an encouragement to others.

This threefold mission is supported by the following values:

💡 What we do says what we are. Actions speak louder than words.

💡 Whatever is not given is lost. It is what we decide we can live without that makes us unique.

💡 Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want. Use of our spiritual and temporal gifts must be based on prudent stewardship and not on selfish motivations.

💡 There are no inconsequential acts. We must be willing to be held accountable for the way our actions change the lives of others.

In consideration of this mission and these values, there is only one goal:

Continuous improvement based on continuous feedback.

Motto: Age Quod Agis
(“Do what you are doing.)

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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