Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Over my head

I used to be a lifeguard.
Last night I stood with my toes in the ocean after a long day of amazing learning. I've lost track of the number of conversations I've been a part of in the last 40 hours about the world of philanthropy I've just come into. The sheer immensity and variety of the need in the world is so far beyond my comprehension it leaves me staggered. Added to that are the discussions about projects and strategies for trying to address some of those needs at individual, local, regional, national, continental, and even global levels.
Standing on the shoreline I reflected that my lifeguarding experience might make me an above average swimmer, but that ability is pretty much irrelevant compared to the size of the ocean. On my own I'd be lost in minutes.
Among the many things I'm noticing about other participants in this PIGS conference is how many of them came to their philanthropic roles in unusual ways and are now finding that God had uniquely prepared them for the work they are doing now. Several of the disparate tracks and themes in their lives have come together in fascinating ways to enable them to bring about good now.
I can only hope and trust that I will be the same.
It reveals another aspect of the shoreline experience. I am continually realizing that the God I love and try to serve is far beyond what I've understood so far. More than anything else, I desperately want to deeply know God. I'm going to take the risk of stepping into the waves.


djchuang said...

might be too easy and cliche to say that God's in control and He knows what He's doing, even when we don't! I know I've taken a circuitous path to get into the foundation world. Glad you're at PIGS - wish I were there. I attended one years ago, but haven't had the opportunity to re-connect.

chris wignall said...

It's peculiar to me how often the cheap churchy cliche's that I had on bookmarks and stickers as a super keen teen twenty years ago and lost confidence in during my early adulthood are now appearing to be true; but in ways and depths that are entirely different than what I thought I understood then.
I do believe God is ultimately in control, but not by dictating events like we are automated figures in his private industry. Maybe NT Wright is to blame, but I love the imagery of us improvising the unwritten pages in the middle of a script that has an established beginning and end.
I don't believe that I am in this field out of some mystical imperative; but it is encouraging to see that I am in in a situation where a lot of what has come before can apply in a way that advances not only the purposes of Catalyst, but also (hopefully) God's purposes.