A week ago I was in Orlando with my Beeson cohort. We were having a great time. The Exponential Conference was fantastic. The general sessions encouraged our souls, the workshops gave us some new insight into church planting and missional movements. What we really liked was the end of the day - the conference was completed by 5 PM. An early closure gave us time to leisurely unpack the evening. We enjoyed this because most of our Beeson trips have not been leisurely.
Our last night in Orlando we were discussing the pace of our trips and the pace of our learning. As we were doing so a different reality began to unfolded. A reality where we had to own more responsibility than what we had, and realize that we had not always served ourselves well.
A major experience for us included a trip to Southern California. We were in Southern Cal for nine days. One of the objectives there was to participate in a game called "Catch The King." The game incorporates at least three major prongs of our course work, anthropology, theology, and leadership. We were given a vast array of resources to play the game with; time, transportation, guidance systems, technology, food, etc. While we had an abundant supply, many of us came away sensing we had little down time. Many of us lamented that we missed a leisurely pace and time to enjoy the environment we were in.
However, the learning from the King continues. Upon our return from Asia three of us were tasked with overseeing the game for students taking a masters level course at the seminary. Unlike our 9 days and unlimited resources, the grad students would play the game in three hours. They would be limited in transportation, the group I was with did most of its work on their feet. They would be limited by physical boundaries. At the end of the day, the three teams had not only completed the game, they had acquired more points than any of the teams in California. We had more, they had less, yet they achieved more.
In Orlando, we talked into an epiphany. Our pace was set, not by the game, or the game master (prof), but by us, the gamers. We were the ones responsible for not carrying a non-anxious presence. We were the ones who went here and there, scouring for points, when a simple afternoon would have produced what we needed and given us time on the beach. We had been welcomed into the Kings land and we frittered.
One of our number wondered, "think we can get a do over?" Probably not. But maybe the experience will have revealed a deep truth. We are the ones, who because of anxiety and/or lack of faith, miss the gifts of the King that are in our midst right now. We turn the gifts of grace into burdens and so often miss out on experiencing the Kings land, and the presence of the King. We won't get a "do over" on California. But thankfully, in the economy of the King, those who learn from the past gain wisdom and bears good fruit in the course of this life and on into the fullness of the King's realm.
Let the learning continue . . .