That’s all.

I’m trying to trust that. To know that Jesus is all I have or ever will need.

It’s hard, but I think it’s true, not just because it is poetic or bold or crazy or something to stand on, but because everything I think about the world, in the end, hinges on this.

I am tempted here to say “But,” but there can be no buts. So instead I will say “And,” though all our ands are secondary.

And apart from the grace and way of the rabbi before me, and the Holy Spirit within me, and the Father lovingly casting spotlights from above me, I need nothing. There are only things I want but do not deserve.

And what I want also are things you might be able to help me with.

So if you want to help as I go away to a land of storied rivers, you can do a number of things.

1. You can pray for me, for my family and friends and church back in the U.S., for the people I work with, the guys I live with, the refugees I serve, the combatants and peacekeepers in Syria. You can pray that the war in Syria would end tomorrow, and if you don’t dare ask for tomorrow, simply ask for soon.

2. You can read the things I write by liking the blog on facebook.

3. You can stay in the loop of my prayer requests by asking to be on my email list.

4. You can pressure the United States government to do what it ought — and what it committed to do — to aid refugees and more seriously seek an end to the war in Syria.

5. You can give money to people and groups that are trying to help where there is a lot of hurt.

At reality’s bottom, none of these things save a person. Likes, policy, intentions, money, even prayer do no save.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

That doesn’t make them not good. In fact, likes, policy, intentions, money, and prayer can do a great deal of good. They are not required for the universe, but they are required for humanity.

The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

From the human perspective in light of eternity, such tangible, digital, socio-political projects are necessary but not sufficient. Only God is sufficient.

So as it began, it also ends. With the all-sufficient one. Who is all we need.


Posted by Griffin Paul Jackson


  1. Interesting post. I wish you Godspeed on you journey. I do have a question regarding your request to pressure the U.S. Government to do what it ought, especially with regard to more seriously seeking an end to the conflict. Can you expand on what you think should be done? I understand your mission to be humanitarian in scope rather than political so please don’t find offense in my question. The U.S. has committed over 3 Billion in aid and 12,000 Syrians have been referred by the UNHCR-a process that can take upwards of 18-24 months. What stands in the way of more admissions to the U.S. seems to be the fear stated by Congressman McCaul, a Republican congressman, who visited a refugee camp in Jordan: “There are a lot of mothers and kids, but there are a lot of males of the age that could, you know, conduct terrorist operations, and that concerns me,” he said at a May 21 breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
    My heart aches for the people who find themselves stuck in seemingly unending conflict in the Middle East, which we have done a great deal to unleash. I applaud individuals like yourself, who assume great risk to make a difference in their lives. I can only pray that the people who live in our country seek to elect thoughtful, peace loving, humanitarian leaders so that war was not the first, best option. My son attended school in Prescott, Arizona with Kayla Mueller, who was killed by Daesh in Syria, doing humanitarian work. I suppose that the world needs the example of young people willing to take risks that might cost them their lives to show us Christ’s compassion, to show the dramatic contrast with ultimate evil. I just wish it wasn’t necessary.
    Sorry for the length of this comment, Griffin, but your post provoked a stream of thoughts that I struggle with. I have had loved ones in military service in Iraq and Afghanistan and war did not seem to be the answer in either case. The very first time I heard the phrase “man’s inhumanity to man” I was too young to have a clue as to what it meant. Today I know. Thank you.


    1. Griffin Paul Jackson August 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      I appreciate the thoughtful response, Susan. Longer the better!

      Regarding the US response, it is, of course, a very complicated affair, and I do not intend to dismiss American efforts as absurd. I think the US has done more than most others in the international community. Still, I believe it can and should do more.

      Economically. I’ve read the $3 billion figure before. Maybe it’s true, but it doesn’t seem to square with numbers coming out of the UN and from non-US aid organizations in the region that claim they’ve received only a little more than $3 billion total through their most recent appeal for funds. I don’t know how to explain the discrepancy at this point, but I’ll look into it more.

      Politically. Mostly, recognizing the convoluted and evolving situation in the region, I think the US simply needs to be consistent and tell the truth. When the conflict started, it affirmed the leadership of Assad even as it condemned his violence. Then the US took to actively supporting the rebels, saying chemical weapons would be a “red line.” Then when the red line was crossed, the US response hardly changed. Then, when ISIS came onto the scene, Assad became again more of an ally, or at least a buffer against radical Islam. All the while, the US has been afraid to back the most effective force at battling ISIS, the Kurds, for fear of alienating Turkey and Iraq. And, as became the subjects of recent headlines, the US effort to train 5,000 troops per year to battle ISIS has result in approximately 60 troops trained, all of whom refused to fight when the realized the US wanted them to fight al-Nusra Front instead of ISIS. We need to acknowledge the fog of war, to be sure, but we should not contribute to the fog of war with wishy-washiness and half-measures.

      Your point is well-taken that more war does not seem to be the answer. I do not want to see more boots on the ground. What I would love to see are more parties at the table of diplomacy. Easier said than done, to be sure!

      For refugees. There are more than 4 million Syrian refugees at the moment, nearly all of whom are spread between Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. I think the US (and Europe) must do their part to shelter more refugees within our borders. Again, this is certainly a complicated and difficult endeavor. But with 100,000 new Syrian refugees every month, I think it’s not that we can’t do more; it’s that we don’t.

      Even as I write this, I recognize that I need to show more grace to American policymakers. It is a hard job, and there are surely many ins and outs that I am failing to recognize. (I seem to be at the same time overly optimistic and overly cynical.) Still, I can’t help but feeling that, as the most powerful nation in the world — economically, politically, and militarily — we can and should be doing more.


  2. Thank you for clarifying your remarks. The refugees from Syria often live in horrific conditions and the humanitarian proportions of this crisis are incredible. I believe that there is not a groundswell of outrage in our country for a number of reasons-chief among them the religious affiliation of those affected, fatigue over the unending nature of conflict in the Middle East, and a political will to keep the status quo-war means profits. It seems to be a chronic condition of people whose roots lie in the faith of Abraham. We are all brothers, Jews, Christians, Muslims, yet we cannot seem to lay aside these differences in our faiths and live in peace. Divisions in sects and disagreements over whose belief is superior lead us into conflicts that have been unresolved and exploited for centuries with no apparent end in sight. I will reiterate my opposition to a military solution-as there is none. Most people on God’s earth only desire to live their lives in peace. The solution lies in the example we, as Americans, set for the world, the humanity we show to our brothers, the choices we make to solve disagreements peacefully. We have been reluctant to accept the humility it takes to live in the world this way. I hope that one day we will have the courage to show our soft power. I suppose it is naive, simplistic, and idealistic,-or maybe all three-to imagine that the money we spend on defense could be better spent on education, healthcare and the welfare of so many peoples around the world who cannot put bread on their tables or a roof over their heads. Maybe man’s condition is genetically rooted in conflict but we can always hope that small acts of goodness, kindness, and charity can turn the tide. Thank you again for your forum. Peace.


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