I just returned from The Gospel Coalition conference held in Indy. I am back now and very refreshed. Wowza, those TGC peeps can preach. Tim Keller, Kathy Keller, Mary Willson, John Piper. It was a FIRE HOSE of good stuff (especially Mary Willson by the way. Shout out to my new favorite!!)
I will admit to feeling a little prickly at first. For no really good reason except…
1) There were 7,000 women in one room which is the natural breeding ground for insecurity.
2) It really did legitimately seem like every single other woman was very, “precious.” I could not imagine any of them having an ugly moment with their child or feeding their family Kraft mac n’ cheese for dinner. (see above).
3) I have spent A LOT of time reading much “less” conservative theology because I am passionate about understanding what other members of the Body of Christ think about Jesus and culture and “hot topics.” I have done that for so long at first I could barely understand what was being said.
3) I had just read the book of Revelation and was struggling to figure out if I embodied every single one of the failures of the 7 churches, or just 6.
Then, Kathy Keller got up and spoke. It was all very good, but a side comment sent a chill straight to my soul. She said that because she was a gifted person, she ministered for over two decades with very little in the way of relationship with the Lord. She was simply doing what she could just happen to do very naturally which was lead and give wise counsel.
And then I knew that without a doubt, I was the church of Ephesus, in the flesh.
Revelation 2: 2-4
I know your deeds,your hard work and your perseverance.
I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not,
and have found them false. You have persevered and have
endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you:
You have forsaken the love you had at first.
It’s easy to fall in love with students. They are beautiful and young and full of potential. When I see them, I love them and I want them to know God.
Sometimes I forgot why I want that for them though – because Jesus is so wonderful and amazing and His Word is honey, gold, a treasure! I can get lost in my passion to understand what they are grappling with and the many different voices they are hearing from the pulpit.
And when I forget or get lost, I can’t remember why I need to read the Bible, or why I need to worship Him, or why I should repent of my sins. I feel like our love gets contractual. He signed on the dotted line and so did I – why revisit it?
I don’t want to do that for 20 years. And so, I sat with His Word all weekend and sang of my love for Him.
Finally – I stopped seeing the other women and only saw Jesus. And wowza – He is beautiful.