No matter how beautiful it is undisturbed, I'm always tempted to walk through a patch of snow freshly fallen, where no one has been since it first blanketed the ground.
We had a big snow the other day (never thought I'd be able to say that in Georgia), and I couldn't resist the urge. I put on the boots I bought for a trip to Maine a few years ago and tromped around the grounds of my apartment complex, looking for especially pristine plots to defile.
I guess you could say this tendency metaphorically represents my spiritual life in two conflicting ways, one good, one bad.
We'll take the bad news first. For one, I think it reflects my unrelenting desire in each situation to exert my own will, not to let things rest just in their unspoiled state.
But on the other hand, on a truer level, I think this shows something more pure about who I am. I want to make the first tracks in that fluffy patch of pure powdery white because I want to be a trailblazer, to go where no one else has gone, to become the first to walk a certain path.
This is good and bad in my walk with Jesus, especially with regard to evangelism. In some ways I feel like Paul, who in his letter to the Romans said, "It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation." After tasting that morsel of satisfaction that comes with planting a seed of the Gospel in new soil, Paul saw it as his mission to continue sowing.
I feel Paul on that one, as evidenced by the way I do well sharing my faith overseas to new ears but often can't find the same resolve in my daily life. I just find the fact that billions still haven't heard Jesus' name appalling, especially with the riches in technology and knowledge that we possess in this country.
In comparison with the soft soil I have sometimes found abroad, Americans seem like icy snow - frozen over, slippery and hard to penetrate. They seem jaded, and the natural inclination - at least for me - is to prematurely move on.
But here's something I've learned, and it has helped me keep a soft heart towards Americans who have rejected Jesus time and again: Many of them are not rejecting Jesus or his grace. They are rejecting the image of him that has been presented to them. They often understand that we believe he died on the cross and rose from the grave. But they don't get his audacious acceptance, and no one has ever taken the time to break it down for them. Most of all, they just don't know who he is.
May I be one who breaks the ice and makes the introduction.