Person to Person
“A sign of spiritual maturity is when God’s primary concerns become our primary concerns…” Dan Kimball
This past month, we welcomed over 1,100 students and youth leaders from around the Pacific Northwest onto Multnomah’s campus for our Spring Thaw high school theology retreat. Dan Kimball, seminary alumnus (Grad Cert ’89), was our keynote speaker for the weekend.
Searching the Sandlot
Challenging our mission’s mindset, Dan encouraged us with new perspective in understanding God’s heart for the lost and for our broken world. Using the metaphor of kids searching for a ball in “the sandlot,” he urged us to expend as much effort in caring for the souls around us as these neighborhood boys did in going after their baseball.
Seeking to demonstrate the importance of life's priorities, he shared about a time when he and his wife were evacuated from their home at the threat of a fire and given a very realistic opportunity to think through what was “most” important to them. For his wife, Becky, it was family photographs, heirlooms, and their house cat. For Dan, it was an autographed million dollar quartet photo and drum sticks signed by legendary drummers. "What would you grab?" He asked the crowd. “My X-box..... My radio… My guitar… Food,” came the responses from a predominately high school audience.
What Would You Grab?
“We’d all grab different things depending upon what was important to us,” Dan said, “but what do you think is of such great value and worth that Jesus would go out of His way to rescue us? It’s people! A million dollar quartet signed photograph will one day burn up, but people are eternal. It’s easy to get caught up in our own world and become concerned only with that which impacts us, but a sign of spiritual maturity is when God’s primary concerns become our primary concerns…and that is people.”
Love for people caused the God of the universe to give His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sin. As I spent time during our Good Friday service a few weeks ago reflecting on the cross, I was overwhelmed by this reality. When I think about the inadequate amount of time I spend thinking about my sin, my great need for a Savior, and the incredible gift and sacrifice provided by God through His Son, the intensity of this reality is even more so. I think if we spent more time in this place of reflection, we’d live our lives much differently than we do. The provision of God’s grace was a costly endeavor — A most sacred and precious gift not meant to be received carelessly, or seen as an endless commodity. While His grace is sufficient (praise God for that), when we walk and live carelessly in our Christianity, we make a mockery out of Him and this invaluable gift. God have mercy on us.
Consumed Christians or Christian Consumers?
In closing our Saturday night session, Dan challenged us: “God has us here for a purpose and it is not just to be consumers of Christianity...” What a great perspective for us as we purpose to align our hearts with His. Indeed, it is easy for godly passion to waver and for us to become distracted by other things. Yet in aiming for spiritual maturity, my prayer for us is that those things that are of utmost concern to God would become our concern as well. Father, let our hearts be broken by those things that break Yours…a lost and dying world and the destructiveness of our sin. It is only then that we can live resurrected lives as You intended.
Michelle M. Peel, MA ’10, BA ’00
Director of Alumni Relations