Thursday, January 02, 2014

available

This morning I heard someone that many of you would know respond to a question posed to him with the comment "I think that everyone just needs to do what's right for themselves".  This wasn't a blanket statement, it was contained within a context to be sure, but it is certainly a reflection of where we are in our culture of "me and mine".  I'm not na├»ve and I've not just crawled out from under a rock.  I understand that this has been along time coming...culturally speaking.  My alarm comes from a "light bulb" moment  culminating from my long struggle with the faith system that I've dedicated my pastoral artistry to.  Everyone else who does not share my love for Jesus can excuse the rant, but if you are a professed follower of the Jesus of history and the book of books please hang around for a bit.  I have something for you to consider.
If you have been invested much at all in your faith process, particularly the evangelical version, you have most likely increasingly heard the terminology regarding discipleship and disciple making coming from your hallowed halls.  Its not a new term at all...Jesus used it and in fact it was part of his last earthly discussion with those following him.  Really, in its most basic form, it simply means someone who is becoming increasingly more like Jesus.  It's process terminology and it represents a process never completed this side of heaven.  However, it has become the holy grail and the silver bullet of the Christian life, all wrapped up in one curriculum demanding ideal.  The problem with this is that there is no curriculum to draw you closer to the person of Jesus other than the gospels.  Want to be a disciple, start by reading about the one whom you are trying to model.  Sounds more easy than we've made it?  This is because we live in a culture of "everyone just needs to do what's right for themselves"... and by culture, I am referring to contemporary "church" culture.  This thought process, that seems so right to so many is so contrary to the life of the one we are trying to model.  Want to follow Jesus?  Don't think of yourself.  Want to model his life?  Don't think of yourself.  Want to grow in your faith?  Don't think of yourself.  In the land of self, we are called to be selfless.
I have this theory.  In the Older 2/3 of the book of books there is an encounter with God where he asks "Whom will I send and who will go for us?"  A guy named Isaiah, for a moment in time, does not think of himself, responds "here am I, send me".   In other words, he said, "hey I'm available".  If you continue to read, even immediately following his volunteering, it is quite obvious that this was not in his best interest.  He wasn't doing what was right for himself...in fact he was setting himself up for a life of immense selflessness that wasn't going to bring him anything but grief.  But here's the thing... what came out of his making himself available was foundational to the hope of Israel and the ultimate coming of Jesus.  So here's my theory ... the greatest movements of God result from him asking "who will go for us" and someone responding "I'm available, I'll go".  Most of us are stuck in what's right for ourselves.  Discipleship is simply sacrificially giving ourselves to a movement of God.  It looks different for everyone.  It can be practical.  It can be physical.  It can be financial.  The only thing common is that it represents "available".   We long for discipleship but are never "available" to follow.  It's understandable for the culture that we live in.  It's tragic for those who claim to want it.

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