Paul wrote it best, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
My life as a roughneck has officially come to an end! Yesterday, Christmas, as soon as we arrived at work we were told that we would be leaving our hitch (seven days) at the end of the day. Sunday was going to be my last day before I called it quits, but since we finished the well, and there wasn't anymore work for us, they went ahead and let us have the rest of the week off. A real rarity in the oil-field normally, but not necessarily during this time of year when companies are trying to stay within budget at the end of the year.
It was a huge relief, and at the same time a bit of sadness. The relief came from knowing that I had accomplished a goal I set out to conquer 6 months ago, and the sadness was from the fact that I would be leaving this season and the people I had come to know as friends would return right back to work in about one week. I felt and still feel like I'm abandoning my post. I'm overwhelmed with sorrow at the thought that there won't be anyone to try to Love these men as Christ would have. I failed so many times with these guys. I was impatient at times, frustrated at times and just down right apathetic at times, but it didn't change the fact that I really do care about those men. I care about their souls, and even though I didn't always win the race, I ran to win most of the time. I'm not writing this as a consolation, as to say, "look at me...I wasn't always Godly, but at least I tried." I simply want the reader to know that I care, and that it wasn't easy learning to carry The Message into a place I could barely pass on a compliment. However, the fact that it wasn't easy, although discouraging, didn't keep me from pushing my way past emotional barriers to get a peek into the hearts of man.
What I saw was amazing...eye-opening...beautiful...and sad all at the same time. You would think that me being a Christ follower, would have gone in there and just unloaded all the wisdom I "had" up to that point, but what I came out knowing is that I didn't really know anything about Loving who God calls us to Love. (Matthew 5:46-48) Derek (mentioned in earlier blog) and Nate taught me so much about giving. Everything they had, including their lunch, was mine. They gave with no regard for themselves, money, or even my performance. Nate would buy my an energy drink ($4) almost everyday without me even asking, or sometimes even wanting one. I was flat out embarrassed at how giving these guys were, and there I was...the Christian learning from the Godless.
It's only been about 12 hours since my life as Roughneck came to an end, and I already feel the need to be nostalgic. I know I'm going to miss the crew! I can't help but to feel sad about my departure, but at the same time I feel a sense of relief. I hope that in some way this blog has opened your eyes the way mine have been open over the past six months. I hope that you, the reader, will try as I did to lose yourself in places you already live your life. I hope that you will seek to find who Jesus was, and moreover, that you strive to live like He did. He gave up the thrown to become poor, to Love the poor and to pray for those who persecuted Him. He said, "Father, forgive them for the know not what they do." "They" were taking his life when he uttered those words. I've held grudges for years simply because someone called me a "bad" name. Makes you wonder.
I'll end with this...
Matt Chandler (Pastor, The Village Church), once said that "Christians" have taken the most precious, delicate, most beautiful message (The Gospel) in the entire universe and hi-jacked it! It's taken me a couple of years to really take hold of the gravity of what he was trying to communicate, but I think it's come full circle. We preach sin instead of Love-Condemnation instead of Grace. To often we forget what sinners we were when Jesus rescued our souls, and in turn we condemn people with the same lives we were living just before He bathed us in His blood. There's a whole hurting world out there waiting, hoping for something or Someone to come and instill hope. Go! Go Now! Let yourself be used for the sake of the Kingdom!