My life can be summed up in two words right now.
Opportunity. I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen more opportunities. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not turning down all kinds of great offers. I’m far from a big deal. I just see churches that need to be planted, books that need to be read and written, relationships that need to be cultivated. There are so many opportunities I want to pursue right now.
Limits. I can’t remember a time when I’ve been more aware of my limits in so many areas: time, knowledge, giftedness, money (hey, I’m a church planter), and more. Most of my limits have always been there. Some have increased: I have less time left, for instance. Others have stayed the same, but I am more keenly aware of them. My email inbox and to-do list, for instance, are continual reminders of my limited time.
This mix of opportunity and limits is not a bad thing. In his excellent book Sensing Jesus, Zack Eswine writes of “three noble limits that are ours for surrender.” They are:
First, we can only be at one place at one time, which means that Jesus will teach most of us to live a local life.
Second, we cannot do everything that needs to be done, which means that Jesus will teach us to live with the things that we can neither control nor fix.
Third, we are unable to know everyone or everything, which means that Jesus will teach us to live with ignorance, our own and others.
The Fall in the garden took place, in part, because Adam and Eve refused to accept their creaturely limits in submission to God. But, Eswine says, there is hope. “Jesus invites everywhere-for-alls, fix-it alls, and know-it-alls to the cross, the empty tomb, and the throne of grace for their time of need.”
Read this a few times:
To relinquish; to admit that some dreams are presumptuous; to acknowledge that some needs outlast me; to recognize my inability to fully supply what is lacking; to admit that I am limited; to say no to competition with brothers and sisters, and to give to others what I strongly desired for myself; and in it all to still take up the pen or give voice to preach Jesus—these indicate a surrender to noble limits.
I’ve never been more keenly aware of the opportunities and my limits, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m working to see my limits as noble ones, and they’re pushing me to go to the One who has no limits