This weekend was the annual church' retreat held at a camp in rural Alabama and it was wonderful. I had such a good time. It was good to get away and be forced to put work aside for a while. And I had such great fellowship with dear friends. Last year I enjoyed the retreat, but this year, knowing people already and being comfortable with them made it such a blast. A couple weeks ago I learned a few football-throwing techniques and was able to apply them. Throwing the football around is so much fun. You could say that is one way I have been adapted into this culture. It is very satisfying to be able to catch one. We were throwing it around, and I was getting better at being able to catch it while running. I decided that I really like throwing it around, but playing an actual game isn't as fun unless there are only 3-4 people on a team. Once we start playing a game I don't get to do so much. Anyway, my new hobby is throwin' the ol' pig skin around.
The teaching was wonderful too and I have been challenged and refreshed. Scott Seaton talked about the life of David and exposed the self-centeredness of my life. We read in 1 Samuel 16 how God called Samuel to go find a king among the sons of Jesse, but didn't tell him which one. And God often does this to us: He gives us a command but doesn't give the full picture to us and we have to trust Him. And we ask the question - why does God do this? Well, this builds up our faith. But Scott made the point that this isn't the only reason, in fact this is a pretty mancentered view. When we look on becoming more mature Christians, more faithful, more disciplined, etc., we are actually keeping the focus on us. But God is refining us so that we will reflect more of His glory. Our refinement should be seen as a means to another end: To declare to creation Who made us. God heals us from our sin not so that WE can become more beautiful, but so that His image in us is clearer. This was rather striking, because I often feel selfrighteous in my desire to be more Christlike. And I want people to look at me and think, "What a godly Christian woman." But this is far from what God wants. How crazy how distracted we can become when we think we are doing good!
God tells Samuel that He doesn't look on the outward appearance (when Samuel is thinking God will pick David's bigger, older brother). But then as soon as we meet David he is first described as "ruddy and handsome with pretty eyes." This seems strange, but Scott made the point that this illustrates that it isn't looks or it isn't Not looks that God is looking on. I think sometimes we can take the idea that appearance isn't important and be countercultural. We think that since God doesn't look on the outward appearance he in fact will only choose the ugly and dirty, but if we are making it a point to be shabby, unstylish, dirty, we are still putting the focus on us rather that focusing on reflecting God.