I have an image in my mind of the picture of an ideal Christian. This is the image that I aim for and that I’m praying takes shape at Saint Paul’s. This image is not an armor clad knight with sword and shield, slaying dragons. It is rather a farmer, working day in and day out, who loves his family and loves the land. Whose life is not always easy or happy, but who endures, knowing that spring is never too far away.
That Christian Warrior thing seems cool, but it doesn’t hold up. Eventually the dragon is gonna stomp on you and eat you. Then what? Did you not pray hard enough? Did God not come through for you? Weren’t you supposed to be the demon slayer? The Warrior Man of God? The Warrior Woman of God? So, what happens when you fail or your kids get hurt or you mom gets cancer? Where’d all that warrior power go? Sure that image feels tough and strong, but it doesn’t hold up. And if you maintain that image in your mind for too long, then you won’t hold up either.
I have in mind instead, a farmer with the strength of hard years in his hands and the resilience of stubborn steel in his bones. And yet, he has a heart that keeps working because he loves he loves his family, loves his home, loves the dirt itself. No matter how boring or routine his life seems, he keeps waking up everyday and going to work, because he loves. And love works. It works hard. And after it has worked one day, love gets up the next day and works again.
The image of a farmer can endure everything that life throws at him, for he already knew that the drought would come, the sun would burn, and the winter would freeze. You can’t defeat a farmer. He waits you out. He knows that spring has to come.
That’s a Christian. Enduring all. Loving all. Hoping all.