For the past month I have been a fire-watching night guard at a sawmill. I walk four to eight miles each shift. I patrol the grounds and buildings looking for fires and security breaches.
In the process I see, besides sawdust everywhere, machinery, pneumatic/hydraulic equipment, chains designed to move logs, chains designed to remove waste products, control booths, and industry-specific hand tools. Ready for use are front-end loaders, large unloaders designed to handle tons of logs at a single bite, and forklifts. There are some items I am around that I am not permitted to write about. And it is almost inconceivable the number of piles of hardwood logs mounded 15-20 feet high all under spraying water.
Up till recently this was what I thought a sawmill was. I could see all the parts, and stacks of product. It felt cold, static, and lifeless. But not now.
What is the difference? The sawmill came to life. I saw what happens when trained people use all that stuff. I saw rough, butt-cut logs go in. I saw useful crossties, planks, 'fuel', and woodchips come out. I saw how each part of the big place works together to make desirable products.
So where is "The Struggle" in all this?
Each of us should read the Bible daily. We read about all the 'parts' in the church. We note elders, preachers, and members with many different skills. We see how financial contributions should be used. We memorize the 'great commission', 'Be-attitudes', Jesus' example of prayer, the steps of salvation, and various love passages. We might use our imaginations and pretend to be in the crowd on that sadistic Friday, the wondrous day of Pentecost, or agonizingly watch Stephen being stoned. Yes, we know all the parts.
But is that how it is meant to be? Is there something is missing? Could it be Spirit-led disciples? Could it be passionate, prayer-filled preachers proclaiming Jesus, hope, grace, love and duties? Is it elders leading by example instead of 'administrating'? Is life breathed into a dead congregation when ALL members use their skills, whatever they are? What happens when deacons report the results of joyous and generous contributions? What life-producing changes occur when we halt memorizing, and initiate the practice of soul winning, attitude changes, praying, and loving the people Jesus loved? Is it advisable to quit limiting the gospel to our imaginations and pretentions?
It just might be that we have a 'log yard' of egocentric people, grasping after the wind, that can be changed into productive, useful individuals if we, the trained disciples, use our Spirit-endowed skills.
Now do you see your personal struggle? I do.