The two faces of Tom

by Tom Fenton, Captain –

Captain Laura Fenton helps students with their classwork. [Photo by Roger Miller]

Captains Tom and Laura Fenton are corps officers in Broomfield, Colo. Recently Tom suffered a stroke and wrote this article about his experience.

Each day I look in the mirror, hoping to find a man full of fight and integrity, ready to serve.

Yet, since my stroke, I see two faces. On the right side, I observe a face full of hope with a twinkle of joy and comfort that comes from being a willing member in the body of Christ. In contrast, the left side is lifeless and indifferent. When I look into this unfamiliar eye, cold and devoid of feeling, I’m confronted with the truth that at times, despite putting on my best face for others, apathy—even a little entitlement—creeps into my heart.

Who is this dead man that the Apostle Paul wrote so glibly about?

The faces of man
My malady imprisons half of my face, but my soul is as free as yours to live, love and endure the trials of living out holiness in the 21st century. Folks, today’s faith is high speed and technology driven. We post this and tweet that—sharing our lives, faith and purpose instantaneously. We share everything from Jesus to what kind of latte we had with breakfast. The world is watching, and none of us can hide our face or our faith from anyone—especially not from ourselves.

If by chance, then, you run into my left face (or your own) tell him to take heart! Be courageous, because the Father has given us his Son. His Son has given us an example to follow and the Holy Spirit provides all we need to maintain and sustain our soul.

The faces of God
That said, we must choose. We cannot serve God and ourselves simultaneously. Our will must submit to God’s will, whether it’s in suffering or success. In fact, suffering can be success, and success can make you suffer. Motive is everything, and two faces are unacceptable to God.

God himself reveals three faces. We have the righteousness of the Father, the obedience of the Son, and the Holy Spirit uplifting us as we live in loving, serving and reaching community. They live in perfect and impassioned love, and so must we.

Look into the mirror—decide if God has called us into inspired service or hopeless apathy. Are we blood and fire or paralyzed? I promise that if you look closely, the answer is written all over your face and mine. The mirror reveals what we do with our ministry and time, and that mirror never lies. Today we’re challenged to look in the mirror and cling to the right, and give God what’s left.

What’s left is this incredible opportunity given to us by the Father. We, who are called to be a royal priesthood, can and should use whatever we have left to serve God, each other and the world—so in need of a Savior.

We are God’s Army—it’s only right!

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