God of the mundane

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Category : faith, hope, miracles, trust

 

Sometimes the best thing we can do is the mundane.  Sometimes that’s where God meets us. 

The story of Zechariah is like that.  He and his wife had tried for years to have children.  But couldn’t.  In a society that valued a male heir so highly, the pain must have been horrible.  How many times, I wonder, did they cry out “God where are you?  Why are you silent?!”

But God wasn’t silent.

In the midst of Zechariah doing his job (as a priest no less) God met him.  And told him he and his wife would have a son.  That son would grow up and be called John the Baptist – the man who would prepare the world for Jesus’ arrival.  (Luke 1: 5-15)

This story strikes me for the simple reason that despite their fears, their concerns, and their doubt they remained obedient.  If Zechariah had said, “God hasn’t shown up in all these years, I’m going to quit my job!” I wonder if he would have ever encountered God. 

I think he wouldn’t have.

Only through obedience – doing the mundane – that Zechariah and Sarah experienced God.  This forces me to look at my life.  Am I not doing the mundane, am I not being obedient, simply because I want to see something flashy?  Do I wait to act until I see cheap theatrics?  Or do I act simply because who God is excites me?  What would my life look like if I never heard from God again?

 

it’s not about me…

Category : God, choice, faith, fear, revolutionary

 

No matter how hard, or I suppose how little we try, we tend to be pretty self-centered.  I don’t mean this in a negative way.  Being self-centered doesn’t always mean that we are selfish.  Although it could.  Being self-centered can also mean that we appropriately focus on ourselves.  Which can be healthy.  After all if we lack self-focus we would end up with a lot of people forgetting to take showers, making the world a much stinkier place! 

Think about it this way: during the course of a day we make hundreds of decisions about ourselves.  What pants do I wear?  What do I eat for breakfast?  Is it safe to pull out into traffic?  We are constantly forced into making choices about ourselves.  So it’s no wonder we end up being fixated on oursleves.  It’s not that difficult to go from “Do I feel like going to the gym?” to assuming everything is about us. 

Which is why, when we say “God told me to do X”, we are acting under the assumption that “X” is for our own good.  What if it’s not?  What if “X” is for someone else’s good?  What if we need to do “X” to step out of the way?

Any time I feel God prompting me to do something dangerous or out of my comfort zone I assume that there must be some benefit for me.  I ask the reasonable question, “why else would God have me do this?”  It must be for my own good.  Right?

But does it have to be?

John the Baptist spent his ministry doing crazy things.  Not the least of which involved wearing camel hair and eating locusts.  Yet his entire ministry wasn’t about himself.  It wasn’t about growing his own followers or becoming safe and secure.  It wasn’t even about staying on a low-carb locust diet.  The whole point of his ministry was to prepare the world for Jesus’ ministry!

In other words, the whole point of “X”, for John, was to get out of the way once Jesus showed up.  That has to be hard on the ego.  Yet get out of the way is exactly what John did.  And for his troubles he was beheaded. 

Looking back at John’s story there seems to be very little benefit to him.  Sure he’s remembered, but he was also beheaded.  And knowing that it makes it hard for me to want to follow in his footsteps.  Frankly the same can be said of a lot of people in the Bible.  I don’t really have much of a desire to be martyred. 

But that’s the catch isn’t it?

The story isn’t really about them.  And my story isn’t always about me.  Sometimes in order for “X” to succeed, I need to get out of the way.  And maybe, just maybe, that means I must lose my life in the process.

As long as I remain convinced that every time God asks me to do something it is for my direct benefit, I will never want to take a risk because I may lose everything.  But as I learn that the story isn’t always about me.  That sometimes my role is to get out of the way, I don’t need to worry about losing everything.  Because all that stuff didn’t belong to me in the first place.

Sometimes it’s just not about me.