Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 NIV)
Doing something for the last time always brings with it a certain amount of poignancy. The other day I sat in my chair in our sun room looking out at the street in front of our house. As I have done for the past eight years. It’s a nice view. Lovely neighborhood. But it’s no longer mine.
A year ago we were reappointed to a new church. But because we wanted to allow our daughter to finish High School before we moved, my family stayed behind in our home. I’d come up a few times a week and they would come down on the weekend. There’s only a 45 minute, or so, distance between the two homes. So it was manageable. Not easy. Not without its difficulties, but manageable.
We are at the end of that journey now. My daughter has graduated and our old home is slowly dropping into boxes to complete a move that began a year ago. While thought I officially moved a year ago, it occurs to me now that it hasn’t been complete until now. In many ways I have been in the middle between two homes and two communities. Both at home and a stranger at the same time.
It occurs to me that my living in the middle ground this past year often reflects my spiritual heart at different times in my life. Living between two worlds, this one and the next. Living somewhere with one foot in the world of flesh and another in the world of the Spirit. We’ve all done that at times haven’t we? We’ve not completely submitted ourselves to Christ, yet we haven’t forsaken Him either. I’d like to take just a few moments and share what I’ve learned about the dangerous middle ground this past year. Perhaps it will be a either a reflection on your spirituality, or something in your life.
1. The Middle ground is a dangerous place to be. That’s where most animals get stuck by a vehicle. They get to the middle and freeze in the headlights. We fool ourselves into believing we can live in the middle ground of our hearts. Not only committed to Jesus, but not denying him. But when a crisis hits we tend to freeze and invariable the pressure of this world run us over.
2. Living in the Middle Ground causes us to believe we can have two homes. We develop a bit of a chameleon like attitude so that when we are with our church friends we act a certain way, and when we are in the world we act another. Our faith becomes ambiguous and loses the ability to transform us or the world around us. Rather than becoming a transformational agent for God in the world around us, what ever that world may be, conforms us to its designs.
3. Because we live in the middle ground we fool ourselves into thinking we are at home no matter where we are. The truth is, the more we remain a stranger to Jesus, the less He is Home to us, the less we fully realize the joy of a life totally submitted to God. So often we deny ourselves true joy because we content ourselves with being a stranger to Jesus, a guest rather than a resident.
4. Speaking from experience Living in the middle ground is just plain tiring. It becomes wearisome traveling back and forth. have you ever considered how tiring it is to live between two world, this one and the one for which you were created? Haven’t you ever longed for home.
Just as our journey is coming to an end, I pray that your heart will finally come to rest in the arms of Jesus. It’s where you belong. It’s home. Yes making a new home isn’t always easy and it comes with its poignant moments. But it is so good to be home. It’s much better than living in the dangerous middle.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><