Project 12

Discovering Discipleship in the 21st Century

“We offered it up as a gift to the Lord”

Posted by justthischris on January 18, 2007

Yesterday I was talking to Dawn Mortimer, who is working with me on Glenn’s book, and she said something that I hope won’t soon drift from my memory. I was talking about my attachment to each of the books I’ve worked on here for Cornerstone Press. I was saying that, as Managing Editor, I felt personally attached to each book sometimes almost as if it were a baby that I’d conceived and carried through to delivery. I related how, with one book I actually sat and wept after the whole thing was over. I knew in that moment that the particular community I’d experienced with that project would never be there again. I felt such a loss that I called all the parties involved and thanked them and then just bawled the rest of the day.

Dawn smiled and said she knew what I was talking about. She recounted how, with Cornerstone Magazine she always felt like each issue was special in its own way. As she spoke I couldn’t help thinking about Dawn as a mother and as a publisher for thirty years. I knew that she, far better than I, knew what it was to be both. But what she said to me went somewhere totally different. She said “I loved every issue in its own special way.” She briefly referred to the community she and all the staff knew together in different ways for so long. She loved the oversized issues more than the others.

“After we’d finished everything, had it all proofed and sent off we gathered together and thanked God for letting us serve him in this way. Then we just released it as a sacrifice of our best fruits unto the Lord.”

“Wow,” I thought. Just like that. It was an “aha” moment. I knew just then that I’d been given something very valuable and that I’d better not lose it. But I couldn’t help myself; I couldn’t leave it at that. I had to chime in: “But surely you still felt an attachment.”

“No,” she replied very matter of factly. “Then we just went on to the next project.”

There it was, but I was going to milk this moment for all it was worth.

“So, you’re telling me that when you had a mag that you really cared about, it didn’t bother you what people said about it afterward?”

“No. At Paulina I remember we even had fellow JPUSAs who didn’t always like what we were doing with the mag. But it was our first fruits, our basket of gifts we gave the Lord. It was given and that was that.”

Well, I knew then that she was right. She’d just clearly, unwittingly, pointed out one of my biggest personal issues, namely the need to attach myself to anything I care deeply about. She’d also gently reminded me that anything I do for Jesus is to be offered up to him as a sacrifice.

Jon walked in this afternoon while I sat here writing and crying over this bit of writing. I told him about it and he smiled and told me about how many lessons he’d learned from Dawn and others this way over the years. We both feel so fortunate to be part of this particular faith family. Yesterday afternoon after the Project 12 class met here near our office I caught Dawn and her husband Curt and another pastor just chatting with one of the students. He was mentioning some difficulties he was having with the courses, but I just marveled at their reaction to him and to the scene overall. For Dawn and Curt Project 12 is about the fostered relationships. Doing for these new folks what they’ve been doing for years here at JPUSA in a delightful new way.

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