For our staff meeting this week, we looked at the second section of Henri Nouwen’s (not pronounced as “Onry Nooven,” like a fellow intern once thought), In the Name of Jesus. As I read through this section, a couple of things really stuck out to me in the way I approach ministry and my relationship with God.
The first chapter of the section talks about the reasons we do things and it is appropriately titled “The Temptation to be Spectacular.” Nouwen talks about how he has lived his life as a tight rope artist walking on a high, thin cable from tower to tower waiting for the applause of the spectators when he has not fallen off and broken his leg. I thought of this and how often I do things as an intern looking for applause from the staff at UMin or from peers for what I have done in ministry. I thought about the need I have to feel validated by the people around me instead of from the God whom I say I work for. The thing is that I really do the things I do for God, BUT I am so easily distracted by the feeling I get when people on this earth tell me “good job” or “you are doing such great things for God’s Kingdom.” There are times I have made it across the tight rope, and there are times I have fallen – fallen hard! Those times included pretty much the entire first quarter as I tried to figure out what I was supposed to be doing as a UMin intern. And, as I tried to walk across the line, I would fall, and everyone saw it. I had no Core Group, then I had one and I didn’t follow up with them…the list goes on. Jesus was also tempted to be spectacular, to cross the tight rope, too. In Matthew 4:6 Jesus is tempted by the devil, to do things that would receive praise for being a stunt man. Jesus wanted people to listen to Him because of the truth of His words and actions. What are the times when you act as a tight rope artist? How have you fallen off the line?
-Posted by Brian Petermeyer, UMin intern