Whenever I drive away from Lifetime Fitness around the northwest corner of the lot, I see the nowhere-near-finished heart of the high-end shopping center Corbin Park. Von Maur, Buffalo Wild Wings, and a smattering of other standalone stores are up and running, and anchor store J.C. Penney is supposed to be on track for a spring grand opening. But the rest of the shopping center, which once looked extremely cool in the renderings, sits vacant with construction halted pretty much indefinitely. Seems they haven’t been paying the contractors. Recessions hit pretty hard with retail expansion!
It serves as a poignant reminder of Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:28-30. Developer Cormac does indeed look foolish as the grand project they began now sits undone for lack of funds. I think of endeavors I once started with the best of intentions, not realizing how much work or sacrifice they would take. It seems, however, that some of the things I have done well, and for a long time, didn’t necessarily follow a lengthy period of consideration. Something also has to be said for passion, gifting, and even divine guidance.
If I had known what I was in for as a volunteer youth leader these 18 years ago, perhaps I wouldn’t have chosen to follow Westview’s youth group to Vista that summer night. (Choir practice was canceled and nobody told me…) All the nights with little to no sleep, all the smelly bodies piled into vehicles, all of my own money I would spend on hanging out with kids with no hope of being paid back, much less thanked. But then there’s the tremendous joy I feel when I see kids I’ve influenced passionately following Christ years later. There’s the inexpressible exhilaration that has come every time I’m allowed to be present as a young person joins their life story with the story of God. And there’s that compelling sense of calling within me, that if I were to choose to stop doing this, something within me would begin to die.
There is counting the cost and having at least an inkling of what you’re getting into, and there’s living your life in obedience to God’s leading. There may not necessarily be a tension, but both have played an vital role in shaping my path.