Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who's coming with me?

The other night, as I ignored my adult responsibilities and the mountain of checklists that danced around my brain shouting "i'm not going to take care of myself," I saw a snippet from the movie Jerry Maguire. In the beginning of the movie, right after Jerry is sacked from his job and loses just about all of his clients, he begins to exit his office and in a fit, an emotionally pride-charged rage, he tells the office he won't do what they expect, which is flip out. During this fit, he gives this grandiose speech about starting something new and encourages his co-workers to jump ship and come with him. To quote: “Now, if you come with me, this will be the moment of something new, and fun, and inspiring in this god forsaken business. And we will do it together. Who's coming with me?" Now, bear with me; my inspiration comes from all sorts of places. As I heard this speech, I imagined God speaking, I imagined God saying, "I am starting something new, something inspiring, in the midst of this world, are you with me?" I couldn't help but smile because I find it comical that I could hear something completely different, a message of inspiration, from a ten second clip of a fictional movie.

In the opening scenes of Jerry Maguire, Jerry is having an epiphany about the nature of the business he works in and the lack of human value it has. He says "we live in a cynical world." There is a lot of truth to that statement, that we live in a cynical world. For the most part we would just as soon shake off the notion of doing anything out of the ordinary, simply to keep peace and comfort as a standard for our lives. We would prefer to focus on what we can see, instead of what we can't and thus would require complete and total faith. But on the flip side, we are cynical in that we don’t think we can make a difference, even if we did follow that still quiet voice beckoning after us. And the truth is-we can’t. But He can.

Irony. Calling ourselves christians, serving a Sovereign, All Knowing, All Powerful, loving, God. Yet the faith that we often preach, when tested, results in running like school children headed out for recess. When God stands before us, shouting for us to follow Him in the direction of something new, something inspiring, we stop and considerately weigh the pros and cons, the risks involved and the chances of success, or more importantly, the failure. As if following God is on the same level as putting money in the ever-fluctuating stock market. Now don’t misunderstand me. We are called to be discerning. There is absolute value in wisdom and discernment. In fact, they are what I pray for most. I pray to hear His voice before I take a single step in any direction. Every venture needs to be soaked in prayer and confirmed by God. But we are called to live a life that reflects the faith we preach. And too often we look at the examples of the past, both biblically and historically and presume we are not fit to be in that category. Not in the sense of inferiority but ability. We simply look at the examples of people like Moses, Noah, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael and couldn’t begin to see ourselves do anything remotely on that same level. We feel completely inadequate and quite frankly, we should-in and of our own strength. None of what we do for God has anything at all to do with us, but all for His Kingdom, His glory. But, He uses the simpletons like you and me. He uses the weak to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). It’s not about success, or even failure, it is about faith. We are not adequate, of that we are correct. But, God is adequate, and that is all we need to know.
Martin Luther King, Jr said “Faith is about taking the first step even when you don’t see the entire staircase.” So I wonder. What would be your response if God were to beckon you with those same words “who’s coming with me?”

Forgive us God, for being so focused inward. Forgive us for being focused on the results, for the vision at the end, for wanting to take that first step, but being afraid because we can’t see the entire staircase. Forgive us, because You are the end result. It’s all about you. It’s always been about You.

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