This might seem an unlikely pairing... and I have to admit that the only reason I originally put these two together was because of their order in the book. However, these two men do have a lot in common. Yes, one is a famous Christian singer known for turning his back on fame and money in order to focus on his pursuit of God and the other is "an ex-convict, ex-addict, and ex-alcoholic." But, both men, taking drastically different paths, found themselves giving everything they had to the Lord.
Rich grew up in the Quaker church and, at an early age, discovered a love for music. In 1985, he recorded his first album and for the next 12 years, spent his time making music, touring and ministering. While most people, still today, primarily know Rich as a musician, he didn't consider music to be his primary purpose in life. He merely saw it as a way to teach other people about Christ. In 1995, he moved to a Navajo reservation in Arizona to teach music to the children that lived there. Even though many of us would assume that such a "luxury" was afforded to him because he could live off the profits of his music, this simply wasn't the case. All the profits from his concerts and music went directly to his church and in return he received a small salary. Rich was killed in a motor vehicle accident in 1997.
This is the second time I've read about Rings. He was also mentioned in the book, Under the Overpass, which I've also mentioned on the blog. Rings lives in Ocean Beach, California. He isn't necessarily someone many would assume is a Christian: ex-convict, ex-drug addict, ex-alcoholic. But, he is a testimony to the healing hand of God... and the power of salvation...of redemption. Every month, Rings receives a check. Instead of using the money on himself, he goes to the local grocery store, buys coolers full of food and heads off to feed the homeless from the back of his truck. As he prepares the food, he shares the Gospel with anyone that will listen... telling them what God has done in his life... sharing with them what He can do in theirs.
The portraits that God so beautifully created of these men have stark contrasts... yet, are so incredibly similar. They took different paths in life, but God used them, their life experiences, to touch the lives of countless people... people from all walks of life. As I go back and "dissect"... if you will... the testimonies of the people highlighted in this chapter, I can't help but compare myself to them... and between you and me, I don't stack up. And, YES... I know that I shouldn't compare myself to anyone, but how can you not help it when you look at the lives of these people. And, for the record, I'm not really comparing my life to theirs... I'M COMPARING MY WILLINGNESS TO THEIRS! The past few weeks have been a spiritual struggle for me... and I don't think it's by chance. The closer I get to moving in the direction God is calling, the more conflicted I feel about certain things. Maybe conflicted isn't the right word... it's more about the realization that I'm not "all in"... I'm like a stubborn kid that stomps her feet, indignantly folds her arms and makes a grumpy face. I've wanted to serve God for a while, but it's always been on "my terms": when I'm ready, what I want to do, with people I want to serve with. When I really get down to it... my focus isn't on serving God... it's on serving myself while I'm doing things for God... and, in my opinion, this is the glaring obstacle that prohibits me from becoming obsessed.
As the book...and blog... come to an end in the next few weeks, think about the obstacles in your way. What is keeping you from being obsessed with God? Even if the obstacle is you!