Flea Market

Over the weekend my wife and I went to a sprawling outdoor flea market with our friends. There were countless tables of “stuff” overflowing from cars, trucks, and trailers stocked with abundant inventory. We walked row by row past an endless supply of kitchen items, wall hangings, books, jewelry, tools, paintings, fabrics, music memorabilia, and home furnishings. It was a bit overwhelming to consider how much of this was absolutely unnecessary (to me) and yet how packed the market was with interested buyers (like me?).

As we enjoyed this fun outing with friends we actually found a couple treasures each. Before today those items were not in our lives; now they are a part of the flea market memory and have graced a few choice locations of our home. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure?

Our lives are a lot like that flea market. We are filled to overflowing with both the insignificant and the important. The stuff of our lives sprawls for acres before us and when we choose to walk the rows we see it all with greater clarity. Some have become like relics. Other parts of our lives are like treasures. Either way, most of the items are often forgotten, neglected, or buried away amidst the plethora of stuff that occupies and preoccupies our souls today.

One of the items I almost purchased was a tract from the American Tract Society, printed in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s entitled “To-Day.” It was tattered and torn, but filled with well articulated advice about the soul. In the middle of the flea market I read with interest, “Perhaps, reader, you are now in the busy scenes of life ; and what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and what you shall wear, are considerations which swallow up all your cares. At present you say you can attend to nothing else. You remind me of him who, being asked if he had seen the eclipse, said, ‘No ; I have so much to do with earth, that I have no time to look at the heavens.’ O thoughtless mortal! Are you, then, seeking God, that your soul may live? How many prayers have you presented for an interest in Christ? How much time have you set apart for secret devotion? God and his glorious perfections, Christ and his salvation, the Holy Ghost and his blessed operations, are all nothing to the unconverted man. What are they to you? What are ordinances, Sabbaths, the Bible, and means of grace to you? ‘ To them that believe,’ all these things are ‘precious.’ As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there may be but a step between thee and death. Pause, ponder, pray. Sparing mercy, what a mercy! Of more worth than ten thousand worlds. Had he dealt with thee according to thy sins, thy body would have been in the grave, and thy soul in hell! But wonder, O heavens! Thou art yet on earth reading a little book, a messenger of mercy, which is telling thee that the God who can bless thee forever, or curse thee forever, is inviting and entreating, nay, even beseeching thee to escape his curse, and accept his blessing. O, if thou didst but know the value of thy precious soul…”

I thought to myself: a little old school to be sure…but these words both refreshed and challenged me in the midst of my flea market experience. As a result, I choose to-day to take time to look at the heavens, for God’s love for me outnumbers the stars in the sky. I’m determined to stop perusing and pursuing the flea market stuff of my life, if even for a few precious moments, and instead pause, ponder and pray. My soul finds rest in God alone…how about you?

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.