Last weekend I came late to a friend’s going away get-together. People were tired and subdued, just like me. What a gift.
What a strange two years it’s been.
“…even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
This Great Story I’ve been falling in love with–of the Fall and the Rising, of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Lord of justice and judgement, mercy and Truth–it’s about to come to an end. We’re in the last chapters.
I’ve asked God not to let me forget, which I always seem to do. That’s why I wanted a semi-permanent record of this meeting. We spoke just minutes earlier, with my face to the rug, crying. Mind, that in itself is not a brag of success. As my bro Francis Chan points out, the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-30) went away sorrowful after meeting with Jesus, and never gave Him his life. Why should I think myself any more successful than him?
Better to be like Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), the next example of a rich sinner like myself. When Zacchaeus realized he could have Jesus in his very house, he never resumed business as usual. He gave half of what he owned to the poor, and from what was left, he paid back quadruple what he stole from everyone.
Thus far, I’ve been stealing and storing up my life, my little moments all to me, thinking that even though the New Testament describes the new Christian’s life as a war zone, a thousand-mile foot race, a keeping of faith like a sacred flame, I have been enamored with “civilian affairs,” staying up late, sleeping in, feasting and singing to nobody’s glory but my own. I have drunk in all the entertainment and niceties I could get my mitts on, and placidly let cracks of division splinter what fellowship may have bound me with so many of my siblings.
What time wasted. Now I understand my home pastor, Ritch Boerckel’s, sermon on 1 Peter 2:9-12 (“God’s Own People Living Godly Lives,” http://bit.ly/VQuEGe). I heard it as a call to God-honoring creativity because of his blender illustration, and at the time that was certainly salve for a wound needing healing in my heart. But now I hear the essential message he had been trying to convey: Jesus has made His children clean, and given them new, pure hearts, and all we need do is let the love and Truth He gives us flow out of us. But we turn away even from this beautiful freshness, and put back in the same filth that He had removed, the filth that He suffered and died for.
What a disgusting scandal! No wonder I have often felt since I met Jesus, the Crowned King, at age 15 that as soon as I began to get better, or walk in the cleanness I believed God gave me, that I seemed to get worse. I was putting back all the putrid works of darkness right back into myself.
Well, I’m done now. Oh God, don’t forget me. Please sit on Your throne with justice and judgement, and let mercy and Truth come before your face, and onto me. Give me the strength that I don’t have, will never have without you– strength that amounts to compassion, perseverance, mercy, trust, faithfulness, humility. I don’t have these things, not without You. Please sow them again, and let them grow again and blossom. This time, please help me give You all the proper credit for what does blossom.
I have to admit: I am scared, but Your love makes me forget what I have to fear. Remind me when I have forgotten Your love.
Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria
1. The Commandment: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2028:16-20&version=NLT
2. The Church:
Multiply Movement < http://www.multiplymovement.com/ >
3. The Coming Kingdom, glimpses of it: “Tree of Gondor” collection, Tumblr