the best advice I ever gave........
Paul the apostle (small "A"....never introduced himself as Apostle Paul.... :)....... was a proclaimer. He created things by what he proclaimed.....the words he spoke. Paul was not given a doctrine or a system to proclaim.....he proclaimed a relationship with a Person. His name is Jesus. The proclamation came out of a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship he had with Jesus. There would be nothing to proclaim without that personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause or a message. He totally and absolutely belonged to his King. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1Cor 2:2) Jesus was his proclamation!
Any words of advice we can give, need to come out of that relationship we have with Him. Our advice is not the proclamation, but (out of that relationship with Jesus) our advice comes as "wisdom from above" as we continue our walk with Him. Once people understand that that is where we are coming from, we can be pretty free to give anyone interested in what we might have to say, some very practical handles that have come from our life experiences as we walk with the Lord and understand the scriptures.
Thinking specifically of all I have been saying the past few days about God's call, the work we do, the careers we pursue.....I thought of an instance where I gave what I feel was the best advice I ever gave. I think I can pass this advice along to just about anyone.....so grab hold of the handle if you like. This particular situation was a conversation with our son who had moved to Chicago a couple years before this and was moving up on the corporate fast track with Arthur Anderson. The corporate giant came apart in the big scandal, their empire crumbled and our son got laid off as part of the second round of cuts, this time another 7000 people.
Our son was barely recovering from the costs of the move and getting established in a totally new area. He had very little stuff, didn't need a car in Chicago, all the college debt to deal with and suddenly no job. What do I do now. Where do I go, what's going to happen, how do I deal with the debt.....all those sorts of things that buzz though our heads when life happens to us.....you don't have to be my age to understand that one, since life is happening all around us, all the time......just think for a minute about that warfare I have said so much about.
Ellen and I were thrilled that our son would call us, share the situation and ask us what we think. That's when I gave him this advice, (all specifically honed to be meaningful to him) but I think you will get the idea. Plug in your own meaningfull specifics. Some of these things you may have heard in the past few days posts.
I told him no matter what he did, that his mom and I loved him and we would back him in any way we could. I suggested that he look inside and find out what was really in his heart that he would like to do. Take away the corporate fast track, the big bucks, whatever he has been told success is......and see what is in his heart that he would really, really like to do. Throw out anything else. You have a justice degree....is lawyer cooking down there in your heart....go back to school and take the bar. Your heart has been with cancer kids....come back to UVM here in Vermont and be a doctor of pediatrics oncology. You know and love basketball...come back and coach your old high school basketball team. Want to see the world, stuff your toothbrush in a knapsack and take off, be a vagabond, see everything that's in your heart too see. There is no right or wrong answer here........ just discover what is in your heart to do.
Two weeks later, he called us, said he wasn't sure what he was supposed do but decided he wanted to come back to Vermont and would we put him up while he was looking for the next step since he just had enough money to get back here.
It was a fun six months as we shifted him from one room to another (depending on what rooms were booked each week) :) How great to have our son with us, taking his meals with us, using our second car.....just like the old days. Can any parent relate to that one? Very happy ending to this one as he found his job, his niche, bought a house and is only 40 minutes drive away....that's a lot different than Chicago!