Ever since I was little, I’ve had a primal need to “go where no one has gone before” – or at least to pretend no one had gone there before. Not far from my house in WInnipeg was a big wooded area called “the Dyke” because it was a flood plain in Springtime, framed nicely by a fifteen foot earthen dyke that prevented surrounding homes from being flooded when the river crested. It was awesome! There were well trodden trails and hidden ones. There were old abandoned house foundations and Great Horned Owls and a decent fishing spot and even a secret place to dig up nine inch nightcrawlers for our pickerel rigs. There were bike trails and jumps and hours of fun to be had. Every year we ventured “further up and further in” to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis’ “the last Battle.”
Drop me along a river or coastline or a trail and I can hardly stop myself: What’s around the next corner? What might I find? What kind of animal might be living there? Who knows? What about the next corner? Or the next?
I’ve never outgrown that adventurer’s heart. I never will. I love to explore. That’s why I love leadership. The frontier of discovering God’s will and becoming the church He has in mind.
By the way, the explorer image is a powerful one for people who love Jesus. In the Old Testament, the word “seeker” prevails. Sixty times we’re told to seek God. Eight times we’re told to seek his face. The focus of the seeker is finding what they’re looking for. It assumes, as U2’s Bono laments, that they still haven’t found it.
The language in the New Testament changes dramatically. Guess how many “seek God” verses there are in the New Testament? Three – and they are more generically aimed at humanity than they are at Christians. Guess how many “seek his face” verses there are in the New Testament? None. Why? Because the message of the New Testament is that God is seeking us, that he’s given himself to us, fully and forever. We are not seekers, we are believers. Friends. Servants. Children.
In other words, we’re explorers, not seekers. We’ve found the one we were seeking. We’ve found that life, found that path, found that focus. In a sense, we’ve arrived — but only in the same way that a child arrives at the cottage at the lake at the beginning of summer. It will take the entire holiday to explore the place he or she has been dropped into. So we’ve found God, we’ve arrived – but it will take all eternity to explore his depths.
I’m an explorer to the core.