Monday, October 22, 2007

Can-nosed people

I've recently been studying about being committed to a cause, and being "burdened" with a purpose. This is a really big idea for me as, in my humble opinion, it essentially represents the ultimate goal of the Christian life.

One of my pet peeves is consumer Chrisitanity. I don't know if it's cultural or just my tenacious drive to achieve my purpose, but I am convinced that as christians we shouldn't be so much about "shopping" for a church that meets our "needs," as much as we should recognize that we are the Church, and the reason we exist is to be God's "love-letter" to a hurting world. Recognizing this big idea should change the way we approach ministry, church, and people. Like Jonathan's (king Saul's son) aide-de-camp, when we understand that we are simply part of an army that has a larger cause than ourselves, our response to our "commanders" call to battle in the face of impossible odds is "Let's do whatever you say. I am with you heart and soul."

This kind of trust requires more than just belief in a good idea. It requires a confident trust in God's ability to work through the "Body" to accomplish His purpose regardless of what the prevalent circumstances appear to dictate. It requires a certainty of your calling in the face of insurmountable odds. It requires a knowing that our hearts must continually be pliable in God's hands even when we have suffered "loss" in the midst of the battle. Battle scars have a tendency to harden our hearts in an effort to help us cope with the perceived losses. But hard hearts and accomplishing God's purpose are diametrically opposed ideas. This is why consumer christianity is dangerous. It has the tendency to create in us a sense of entitlement. In other words, our christianity becomes milque toast and self absorbed instead of selfless and others focused. Listen to what the Scriptures have to say on this issue: He who hardens his heart falls into trouble (Proverbs 28: 14).

One of the stories that I read in my recent studies that best illustrates this, is the story of the cow that stuck her nose in a paint can while grazing, and couldn't shake it off. Apparently can-nosed cows can't breath really well, and they can't eat or drink at all. This put both the cow and her calf at serious risk. The family that owned the cow chased the cow around the pasture for three days in an attempt to help get the can off her nose. Each time they approached, the cow ran. Finally, coralling the cow with pick-up trucks and ropes, they cornered and de-canned her. How does this relate you ask? Well, have you seen any can-nosed people lately? Malnourished souls? Dehydrated hearts? People who can't take a deep breath? All because they stuck their noses where they shouldn't, and when God stepped in to help, they ran away. Many of us often resemble bull-headed people ducking God and scampering around, starving and struggling, yet trying to make it all work on our own terms. We often run from the very One who can help.

These can-nosed people are trying to make life work on their own terms. Committed to a cause, it's all about them! When the cause that burdens you is all about you, you are guaranteed to stick you nose where it doesn't belong and come up wanting. It's imperative that we find our calling and purpose so that we may live out the God induced burden that keeps us awake at night with divine indignation. What's your cause? What are you burdened for?