I stopped by Hotwire this morning since I’m running behind again. It’s been a profitable stop since there were still some of my wife’s scones available. I’ve never been into the scone thing since moving out here….that is until my wife began her baking company. I don’t like scones because I don’t like dryness coating my mouth like a blanket. Really…if I wanted a mouthful of baking soda, I’d just pour some on my tongue. Hers are different. I’d eat them like a bucket of KFC if I had the chance. Anyway, it might sound odd that I have to pay for some of my wife’s baking, but it’s a sacrifice that is well worth it. I’ll do whatever it takes.
I don’t encounter many people anymore with a “whatever it takes” attitude. Oh I know many who will say “whatever it takes”, but when encountered with various opportunities for “whatever” they shrink back with a “but not that” attitude. In my life as pastoral artist, I used to encounter communities o’ faith that were in desperate need for a change, many even used to tell me that they’d do “whatever it takes” to change. Then out would come the “but not that” lists of things they wouldn’t be willing to address, which ultimately became a recipe for paralysis and dying. I’m happy to report that in my current community o’ faith, they had professed a “whatever it takes” attitude, for some reason I believed them and moved 3000 miles to help, and in 10 years a “but not that” list has never appeared. Guess what? They are younger and healthy again and more importantly attractive to and serving in the community that God has placed them in.
I’m told that this is the “place of pioneers”. People tell me all of the time that this or that is the result of the pioneering spirit of the Northwest. Whatever… none of them came over the Oregon trail in a covered wagon. None of them have families who died in the passes. The pioneering spirit would undoubtedly result in a “whatever it takes” methodology….if it were really present. What I see more of though is the same “but not that” kind of hesitancy that is prevalent everywhere else. People want the marriage relationship that my wife enjoy after 25 years, but they won’t invest in it. For all of the smiles and PDA that people see on the outside, there is plenty of investment on both of our parts. There is sacrifice. Come on, I have to buy my own scones. There is humility. There is serving. There are investments of time and at some points there have been financial investments with professionals who know far more than us about the inner workings of our emotions.
I deal with people who want quick fixes. They have long “but not that” lists. They refuse to afford investments of either time or money. They say things like, “but you don’t know my life”. They can’t get over themselves. They change relationships like Microsoft changes windows. I know couples who will invest in a rental but not a relationship. They’ll commit to a mortgage, but not a marriage. Then they want what I have? Excuse me if I sound a bit annoyed, but that’s because I am. Sometimes you not only have to do “whatever it takes”, but you may have to invest everything that it takes.
I pray for these people. I really do. It’s all that I can do. As a pastoral artist, I try to focus on and lead others to the source of my faith, who lived and died a “whatever it takes” life. In order for me to be able to be back in community with God, he invested everything he had. In order for people who don’t even give a rip, he paid the ultimate price. I’m thankful that he didn’t have a “but not that” attitude.