· Leadership Development

‘Closest’ or ‘Closet’

By Gil Hanke

My handwriting and my spelling have not improved with age. Each Wednesday at 6:45 a.m., I participate in a “reunion group,” a wonderful group of men who meet via Zoom.

Each week, we report on a template of ways we respond to Christ.

One of those ways falls under the category of “Closest to Christ.”

For some reason my scribbled notes look more like “closet” than “closest.”

That mistaken scribble raises two interesting questions:

“Do you feel close to Christ only when you are in a prayer closet?”

Or worse:

“Do you keep Christ in a closet?”

Men are often guilty of compartmentalizing Christ or God by saying, “There are things I do in the world and there are other things I do to be close to Christ.”

The Bible has many examples of men thinking they could escape from God’s presence or believing they had to be in a certain place or condition to be in God’s presence.

There is a song I sang as a child (apparently, so did Elvis Presley): “God is so high you can’t over Him, so wide you can’t get around Him . . .”

This simple song raises two questions “Does my Sunday behavior differ from other days?” and “Does my weekday behavior include actions I avoid on Sunday?”

Yes, I admit there are places where it is easy to feel God’s presence. Some call those “thin” places. These places may be in your church sanctuary, favorite park, or retreat center.

But we are always close to Christ.

That is not something to fear, but something to embrace in each and every situation, and in each and every location.

What helps you feel close to God in any setting?

Gil Hanke, chief executive officer

General Commission on UM Men



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