Welcome to the official 24th and final week of the ELI journey! It's hard to believe that we're already here and yet, so exciting to consider where God will continue to move us, both collectively and individually as we persevere on our journeys. With many of our teams starting or completing Session #12 this week, I wanted to encourage us to maintain the perspective that our real journey has only begun.
"And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Mark 10:21-22).
While there were many college courses that I enjoyed, there were also a fair share that I simply had to take in order to graduate. For these classes, I bought the book, studied for the exams, and worked hard to get the grade...and then moved on. I retained the knowledge during the semester, however, as soon as I had taken the final exam it was out the door and out of my mind. What was once relevant is now only remembered in books such as General Chemistry and The Economic Structure of Corporate Law presently gathering dust on my bookshelf. These classes may have helped me get to where I wanted to be, however, because of how I approached them, they've had little lasting impact.
What would it look like for your ELI journey to be more than simply a class? Unlike the rich young man in Mark 10, we have to be willing to allow our time with God and our teams over these past 24 weeks to truly influence us. We have to be open to allowing God's truth to change us from the inside out, even if it means giving up something we may think is better. We have to be willing to engage with the Spirit in the daily, even hourly work of moving from me-centered to Christ-centered.
Our prayer and hope is that ELI will not be just a course to complete, a set of trainings to learn, or extra notes that you can put on the shelf or stick on your fridge. Rather, might the practices you've embraced, the relationships you've built, and the tools for discovering God, ourselves, and others be an on-going process that allows you to be one that God is constantly transforming to transform. Might ELI be a resource and framework to help guide you to be about eternal, Kingdom impact each and every day. It is from being with God that we do for God, not the other way around. And it is in losing our lives - our agendas, thrones, and expectations - that we provide others and ourselves the opportunity to gain real life.