Lately I’ve been thinking about the things we say, how we say them and also the way in which the things we say are heard or mis-heard (is that a word?). It’s prompted me to write some things down and try to hash out some thoughts on the subject.
Reading for Quality vs. Quantity:
This idea leads me to evaluate my own efficiency, or inefficiency as the case my be. If I’m reading, I would have to read multiple times quickly/for quantity rather than necessarily get the most out of the text the first time by reading carefully, slowly and for quality. It also makes me wonder if my definition of “efficiency” is the same as God’s when it comes to life in general. My guess is probably not! Am i trying to just blow through as much as I can? Think reading a “1 Year Bible.” While that’s a great feat, don’t you think we could get more out of it if we read it much more slowly…chewing on it…letting it marinate on our brains…seep into our hearts? Just a thought.
Knowing God vs. Knowing about God:
Again, this slight difference isn’t really all that slight at all. Do I want to simply know about God, or do I want to know Him and be changed by Him? Think about this: Do I just want to know about my spouse, or do I want to know her? Isn’t there immensely more value in actually knowing intimately a person or God than in simply knowing about them? So maybe it’s time to give the head knowledge a break and ramp up the heart knowledge…pray, be silent, listen, be patient.
Jesus is for Losers:
I think I saw this on a shirt somewhere. Now, some folks might take offense at this statement. But I think if you stop and let it sink in for a minute you’ll see what I mean. Matthew 9:11-13 says, “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners (Losers)?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick (Losers). But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Losers).”
See what I mean? I’m a loser, and Jesus is for me (and you). I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but we’re all losers. The word Loser has pretty negative connotations attached to it, but maybe being a Loser isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Jesus Ruins Lives:
Don’t take this the wrong way, but Jesus can mess up some otherwise pretty good plans. Over the years, I’ve laid out some pretty good plans for myself. I’m sure most of us have. There’s my plan, and then there’s God’s plan. And many times those 2 things are not the same. Go figure.
When I follow God’s plan (and I can only do that because the grace I receive from Jesus), my life tends to work better. I know when I am following and when I’m not. I know when it’s my plan and when it’s not. And no matter how many times it seems that I forget this basic truth, I stll make plans for myself. And then Jesus comes along and ruins my otherwise unhappy life.
So when I say that Jesus ruins lives, I mean that he ruins these lives made up of walls and facades and lies and heartbreak. Jesus can tear down our houses of cards and rebuild lives of substance and truth and meaning and love if we’ll just open our lives to Him.
Does God call us to something or away from from something else (or both)?:
Sometimes you’ll hear someone talking about being “called” by God to a certain thing or a certain place. Pastors talk about being called to ministry. Missionaries talk about being called to some faraway land.
Maybe you’re feeling a call yourself. Hopefully we all will at some point. Not that everyone is going to be a pastor, but I believe that God does call us all to something specific. Maybe to be teacher or doctor or police officer…whatever. Outside of vocation, I also believe that God calls us to action on a daily basis. From listening to a hurting friend or giving money to someone in need or encouraging a child.
But I have begun to wonder if when God calls us to something, is He not also calling us away from something else…something detrimental or just not good enough? Look at the story of Jesus calling his disciples in Matthew 4:18-22, “As Jesus walked alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, because they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Right away, they left their nets and followed him. Continuing on, he saw another set of brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father repairing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” Jesus seems to be calling them to not only follow Him, but also to leave behind the only life they knew to begin a life that they couldn’t even a imagine.
He does it again in Matthew 19, starting at verse 16: “Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”…Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” This man was being asked to leave life as he knew it, as well as all that he had worked so hard to accumulate. The difference here is that the man was unable or unwilling to leave, and did not answer Christ’s call to follow. The next time you hear God’s call to come, I wonder what it is He’s calling us to leave?
These are just some of the thoughts that have been rolling around in my head that somehow found their way out. I’d love to hear your thoughts too.