The Fire Within
Psalm 40:8 My God, I want to do what you want. Your teachings are in my heart.
A few years ago, I participated in the Ministerial Installation service of a very close friend. After the Service, in the receiving line, a man passing through commented on something I had said during the service. His comment intrigued me, so I sought him out during the reception afterward and we chatted at some length about our different interpretations of a particular teaching of the great churchman John Wesley. These were the days when people actually discussed theology instead of so much of the inane chatter I hear these days. Not long into this astute conversation I finally realized that I was clearly out of my league, I asked him where he went to Seminary and developed such theological depth. He said, “I have never been to Seminary—in fact I am the head janitor at a local High school.”
Two things became real to me in that conversation. First, that an intelligent person does not need academic degrees to prove it (and perhaps the converse, that people with academic degrees are not necessarily intelligent). Second, I learned about a man who had followed his bliss. What was important in this man’s life was the world of ideas – and particularly ideas about ultimate meaning, about spirituality and religious commitment. He devoted his life to thought, study, and conversation and paid for his daily bread by living the simple life of a Janitor.
He studied theology—he knew the life and teaching of Wesley because it was his passion—it was his bliss to feed his mind on such spiritual food. I often think that following God’s will for us could be simpler than we make it. Maybe it’s more about following our bliss (our passion) than we sometimes think. Want to know God’s will for your life? Then start with this question: What ignites your heart? What in some real sense is your bliss. Forgotten orphans? Teaching or nurturing small children? Caring for the lonely and homebound? Giving your time and energy to a social cause? Coaching, inspiring, motivating, offering betterment to a broken situation?
Or maybe you have a passion to sing? Then sing! You are stirred to manage? Then manage! You feel compelled to reach out to a lost one? Then reach out. Do you feel compelled to explore new places and faces? Carpe Diem! When we are placing worship and knowing God at the center of our souls He will place longings and urgings within us. Follow your bliss.
As a young man I felt drawn to preach. Unsure if I was correctly reading God’s will for me, I sought counsel from a minister I respected. His counsel still rings true. He said “Don’t preach, unless you feel compelled to, unless you simply feel you have to.” As I pondered his words, as a zealous young convert, I found my answer. “I have to. A fire consumed me.” It was the burning of my heart that led me to study, prepare and grow and eventually lead my first churches. I followed my bliss—I trusted my heart. Dear friends, what is your bliss what is the fire that consumes you? If there is no fire inside you—it’s time to get on your knees —to seek His face—to discover His glory—to worship His majesty. I believe when we seek Him with all our hearts He will put a fire (a bliss) within us!