Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of transcripts from concerts that Rich Mullins did in his lifetime. It’s amazing that people have taken the time to commit Rich’s live teachings to words so that those of us who never got a chance to see him can read and learn from. Here’s one I love, from August 10, 1997 in Green Bay, WI:
People always say, “I don’t know where the Lord is leading me.” I always say, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. The important thing is to be where He has led you already. If He has led you into a marriage, then be faithful there. If He has led you into being single, then be faithful there. If He has blessed you with many
material goods, then be a good steward of those goods. And if He has blessed you by allowing you to imitate His life of poverty, then imitate it with great joy.
Someone once asked Mother Teresa if she thought that we didn’t suffer in the United States like other people did because we were a righteous nation, and Mother Teresa said, “Oh, no, I’m afraid you’re so wrong.” They said, “What do you mean?” She said, “I don’t think you suffer because I don’t think you are worthy to suffer.”
Don’t resist the work of God in your life by asking for an easy life. If you live really good, folks, you’ll get older. I guarantee you that, you will get older.
It’s amazing to me to see pictures of my grandparents, when they were kids, and how handsome, and pretty and everything they were, and bright looking. And then seeing them when they were very, very old, I never would have connected the two. Life had beat them beyond recognition, in many ways. They had arthritis, they had cornea dystrophy. Eventually they died, and we all are gonna do that sooner or later.
And if you live really good, you will be beaten. If you really try to walk in faith, you will fall. You will stumble. If you believe that your life in Christ is one constant spiral upward, then you are badly mistaken. And if you think it’s heretical to say, then read the lives of the apostles. Their lives were blemished, their track records were not particularly good.
If you try to have faith, you will be attacked by doubts you never knew you were capable of. But you keep on believing, even if you fall, even if you struggle with doubts, you keep on believing. And if you live a life that is marked by hope, by the belief that God is good, and there is goodness in the world that awaits us, you’ll be disappointed. You’ll be crushed, even, sometimes. The Scriptures say hope deferred makes the heart grow sick. You’re gonna have a sick heart. But you keep on hoping. And if you choose to love, you will be misunderstood, you will be betrayed, you will be rejected by the people who most desperately need the love you have to offer. And remember that when you try to love, it’s not like love in the movies. In the movies, when people are loving each other physically, they always are perfectly fit and tan, and beautiful. Most of y’all, I’ve seen you, you don’t look like that.
We are blemished people, and in order to love anybody, in any way, we have to expose that part of us that we’d rather keep hidden. Our own selfishness, our own fears, our own hangups, and it’s embarrassing. So humiliating. But you keep on loving.
Many of us are obsessed with becoming rich, many of us are obsessed with becoming smart. But all of our wisdom, all of our great insights, we see in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect comes, that which is in part is done away with. But there are three things that will remain: faith, and hope, and love. Make sure you live in those. And if you do, you will be hurt, you will be crushed. But when you wash up on that other side, when life is done with you, when you wash up over there, the angels that were looking at your little works of art and saying how tragically misconducted they were, they will look at what’s left of your body and say, “Man, what is this!” And Jesus will say, “Oh, I know who that is. He is mine!” And the angel will say, “How do you know he’s yours?” And Jesus will say, “Well, you see that sweater he’s got on?”
“I knit that for him.”
(Rich Mullins died 39 days later.)