Yesterday, in a brief description of each, I featured 20 members of our Gideon’s 300 army, focusing mostly on what makes them a “ragtag militia of misfits.” In that list, I had Marti, my wife, as a “lonely leader” — lonely, because she is “so far out in front” of the rest of us.
In a comment yesterday after reading the Catch, dear Mark (who, like Keith, is fighting his battle from a wheelchair) wrote: “I am a proud member of the Catch’s & Gideon’s 300 Army, and running hard to catch up to Marti!” I love that; but Mark, I have to tell you, don’t get your hopes up. Roll as fast as you can, but you’ll never catch up to her.
Let me tell you why. First, she is a gifted leader and she’s supposed to be out in front. This is a truth that is wasted on many in the church today who don’t believe that a woman could have the spiritual gift of leadership, because they are not supposed to be leading. This is a misunderstanding of the scriptures, that, among many other examples we don’t have time for here, has two women as judges over Israel as Gideon was a judge.
Second, she is out front because she has grasped, more than the rest of us, her human limitations and weaknesses, and is therefore relying on the Spirit of God all the time.
In George Barna’s book, Maximum Faith, he identifies 10 stages of spiritual transformation common to all Christians. He didn’t pull these out of his head; he pulled them out of his research. And of the ten, most Christians he researched weigh in around level #3. The crucial turning point of spiritual transformation, however, isn’t until level #7 which very few get to; or if they do, even fewer see it as the spiritual asset that it is; and that level is simply: brokenness.
Marti grew up a sinner, like the rest of us, but unlike so many of us, she never learned to cover that up with a false evangelical piety. She’s a sinner, she knows that, and is constantly drawing on the grace and mercy of God. She’s a spiritually born evangelist — always on the side of sinners, because she knows she is one. Marti has Gideon’s torch flying all the time, because she smashed that vessel a long time ago, and it remains broken so that the light can get out.
The third reason Marti is out in front is because, unlike me, she is “on” all the time.
Now I can tell you when I am most definitely “on.” It’s when I am speaking or singing, or when, like right now, I am writing, because I have an audience. I’m on stage; and because of that, I have to be pulling from the Spirit of God in my life. But just as I am switched “on” when I have an audience, my tendency is to switch myself “off,” spiritually, as soon as I’m off stage. Like when I finish writing a Catch, I’m usually into the morning paper, and you better not mess with me then, because this is “John’s time.” This is my “down” time.
As far as I know, Marti doesn’t have a “down time.” If she does, I’ve never seen it. She never walks off the stage — she never switches off — because life is Marti’s stage.
For instance, Chandler and his friends might traipse through the house, and I go: “O boy, another interruption,” as I give off signals that I am not to be interrupted; while Marti immediately looks up from her work with a smile and anticipation that seems to indicate this is what she is alive for, and she goes: “Great — another opportunity to connect with someone who needs Jesus.”
So … catch her if you can, but if you can’t — and you probably won’t — better join Mark and get rolling by following her example!
Don’t miss tomorrow’s Catch: No Retreat!
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