We Leave with Nothing but Love

The image of a lion, and SMU
May 8, 2010, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have always told Chris, president of Biola’s Student Missionary Union, that he looks like a lion. I have been a coworker with him since last April, when I was hired as the new assistant controller of SMU. Ever since the first retreat last spring, the one where all of us new SMU staff went camping, I have felt the presence of God under his leadership and in the group of student workers who collectively make the Student Missionary Union. I’m tearfully typing that the staff is, once again, being transformed by the passing of batons to 26 new staff members. Five people will return from last year’s staff, but everyone else, including the president, will be replaced. For most of my life, I understood the image of the lion to be like Aslan, and “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). In this context, he is the one who removes fear and replaces it with peace, because He is the capable leader. This is the image I have when I think of SMU for this past year; we have been cared for excellently and courageously.

Then Torrey Honors brought in the image of a violent, flesh ripping, terrifying lion. This happened when we were assigned to read the book of Hosea, and the lion is an image of judgment upon the disobedient Israelites: “For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one will rescue.” (Hosea 5:14). And I am reminded that the same God who leads us in His peace, carrying the burden of our sins, is the same God who chastises those whom He loves. He brings us to submission, and leads us to justly perform the duties for which He has created us.

Now it I must determine whether it is my duty to allow the new president of SMU, Luke, to be gone for two weeks next semester. He would be leaving the country for a big conference, using Skype to contact us, but otherwise leaving SMU and his classes altogether for his once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity. As SMU vice-president/controller, I would have to fill his shoes. This means, leading staff and Board of Directors meetings, meeting with directors to discuss their progress and their needs, and researching ways to move SMU progressively in its existence as the largest student-led missionary organization in the world. While I do tend to be an ambitious sort of person, I feel that I would not be able to give what SMU needs as both Controller and President.

I’m already experiencing a sense of abandonment and expendable-ness, now that so many people are leaving Biola, and don’t need me in order to move on with their lives. Now the president is going to abandon us for over two weeks, and needs me to perform duties I didn’t sign up for. I want to consider justice as Plato defines: having and doing what is one’s own. Would it be just for either of us to let this happen? Is this really an opportunity the Lord is providing to provide an opportunity for all of us to grow through distress?

Here’s the other side of the coin. The new president would be going to Lausanne to attend one of the largest missions-oriented events the world has ever seen, an event that happens maybe once every fifteen years or so. It would be foolish not to go, given the opportunity. Furthermore, Chris told me that I am very capable, and believes in me to be able to fill his shoes while doing my Controller duties during that time. Tonight at the goodbye dinner, I received an award for being “The most adorable problem-solver in the office (and) the most likely to cry while receiving this award.” Chris said that if he would have given me the “grace under fire” award. This is very assuring.

I have hired a worthy assistant, capable of flourishing, even under pressure. His talent and intelligence tell me that he could also support me during that time.

My mind and heart are not at rest. I simultaneously feel pleased to feel so trusted, and terrified at my lack of ability to handle this. Don’t they know I’ll mess everything up, or miss the chance to put out an amazing effort? Don’t they see my incompetence?

Jeremiah 20:12 Reminds me that the Lord knows my mind and heart, and is the one who brings us through times of testing, more pure and strong. Matthew 6:33 reminds me that as I seek first the Kingdom of God, the things in life will be added to me. He provides as I need.

Sometimes there are times of quiet, with a few friends and a few responsibilities, and a little bit of stamina-building. Other times there is a lot of noise, a huge tumultuous whirlwind of events, and impossible strength required in order to get through. And then there are the times that just seem so out of the ordinary and unjust, so trying and so daunting, offering very little insight into the success of the future.

Actually, I think I’m going through a bit of all of that right now. The paradox about living by the strength of the Lord is that life feels simultaneously impossible and feasible, both terrifying and peaceful. I know I have everyone I need, especially the Lord on my side, and yet I sit here feeling so alone.


One Morning with Ron Blue
May 3, 2010, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Business, Economy, God

On Wednesday morning I am scheduled for an interview with a financial advising firm called Ron Blue & Co. This firm is an incredibly unique place where Christian ethics meets the man-eating business environment. Ron Blue & Co. is the ethical opportunity to explore the meaning of wealth. While most of the clients of Ron Blue are extraordinarily wealth individuals, the company also has resources for mentorship and advising on everyday stewardship for people of all monetary situations. http://www.ronblue.com/thefounder.phpRon Blue shares my passion for financing missions. He believes in leading responsibly, caring for the people in an organization- as the body of Christ, and using financial resources responsibly to fund worldwide missions. This thirty year-old organization is founded by a man of integrity:

Ron retired from the financial planning firm in 2003 in order to lead an international effort to equip and motivate Christian financial professionals to serve the body of Christ by implementing biblical wisdom in their lives and practices, resulting in financial freedom and increased giving by thousands of dollars by thousands of Christians around the world. He is currently President of Kingdom Advisors.

So here I go, practicing my answers to the interview questions. I recently interviewed several Biola students to be my own assistant for when I am hired as the Student Missionary Union Controller. I know that there are a few pithy phrases I got tired of hearing. I won’t tell the employer that I struggle with perfectionism. I will, however, share my ambition to succeed, and I will give passionate examples.

I have a heart for missions, and the Lord has confirmed that passion since I was in the second grade. Granted, I have had several fade-outs throughout the years, but several times over, God has led me to pray for and support missions and missionary friends. Matthew 5:16 is the song that guides me home: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” Ronald Blue & Co. is an amazing environment that stimulates the Aristotelian virtue of magnanimity. Those who are better stewards of their finances can give more to those in need. With every investment, the motive is to provide for those efforts which seek a heavenly purpose. I am excited to learn more about the Christ-centered environment, and to meet some of these intelligent Christian accountants.

Ronald Blue & Co.