My daughters are captivated by the award winning BBC series "Downton Abbey". It is about the workings and caste system among the two dozen or so servants and a half dozen or so residents of a castle in the early twentieth century. My daughters, of course, are interested in the forbidden love requited and infrequent life that occasionally breaks free despite all the contrivances. To sit alongside them as they watch gives me the opportunity to enter into their worlds a bit and understand their hearts a little better. I feel like I am getting a little better "read" on their tendencies. (I am probably at about 5%, but I have a push goal of 7% by the end of the year.)
The most intriguing aspect for me is when someone actually breaks rank. When someone of stature reaches below theirs or when one without reaches for something much more. At a time when roles were so set and the path of life was so predetermined generationally, it was incredibly disruptive for someone to step out of line. I don't think my girls are equally motivated to understand me better, but if they were, they would see that these are the parts that particularly grab my attention.
Art imitates life. A pastor tells a congregation there is something more, a business owner paints grander intentions for their team members, and a small cadre of men beckon a group of 40 or so men to exit the matrix and find the inspired life of God's intentions. The response is often a blank stare. The heart races and while there is often hope upon hope inside, we are so beaten down and have long quit believing that there is something more. To rise up from the pew, to buy into the expectation of more from our vocational life, or actually break ranks from the mass of men (living lives of quiet desperation), is uncommon.
The only problem with all that is that we are cut from the cloth of one who came to turn the tables over and destroy the established order of humanity. To heal and restore…break the predeterminations of men and the brokenness born by prior behavior…to break rank and lead us all on a new path. We all must reconcile ourselves to the fact that there is so much more and we were created for it…to not find it is to the walk in the grand unfulfillment of a glorious life intended, but not found.
What happens when a man actually begins to believe? Like Neo against the agents, we begin to take on the fights we formerly ran from, we rise up against the injustice we find, and we steadfastly refuse to live a life so ordinary. Donald Miller says, "“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
So we can take a man and paint him up with tips and techniques, shackle him with duty and obligation, or maybe, just maybe, we can get him to believe that he was created for something grander and particular. That God meant something when He meant him. Now that kind of freedom and intentionality is something to behold…transformation that begets transformation. The unshackling of a man toward God's greater purpose, finding his role in the larger story, is a glorious thing to behold.