“We Christians are such rookies at knowing how to love as Christ loved, that we must come up with complicated plans to do what Christ did.” – Yours Truly
I just finished a three week sabbatical – a break from my normal duties with, for, and among the church family that I am a part of. I’ve been being with, looking for, and listening to God each day. I’ve done this in special environments (with a mentor, in silence and solitude, reading books) and in my natural ones (with my family, my friends, in my busy house, running errands).
And this morning, in my regular morning routine, getting ready to enter back into my normal duties, I heard with crystal clarity His voice commissioning me (once again) with my current assignment:
“When I send people to you, you are to love them, ask them questions, and tell them stories. When I send ideas to you, you are to listen to them, contemplate them, and share them.”
Wow. What priceless simplicity. What an uncomplicated assignment.
What a precious answer from my Father who I am always asking with such urgency, “How do you want me to go about loving you and loving others in a way that makes disciples of Jesus?”
And I guess therein lies the problem. It is so simple. Surely it can’t be so simple?
I have spent much of my life longing for a simple life with God and people. Over and over God has said, “Certainly!” and given the same instructions to me in one form or another (the above being His latest effort). And what do I do?
I end up saying, “Certainly not!”
“It can’t be that simple!” I think. “It can’t be that narrow!” I argue. “It can’t all be fit into those few words of commission!” I surmise.
Why not, you may ask? Well…it’s complicated.
Only it’s not.
By hiding behind the mystery of how “complicated” we think loving God and people is, we hide from the simple assignment God is trying to give each one of us. And it stems from some deep down, in-bred, hard-to-escape lie that tells us that we must do more than we must do, or be somewhere other than where we are, or attain a life beyond what we’ve been given.
If you get sent to me, what you can expect from me, no more and no less, is my faithfulness to my assignment from God. I will love you. I will ask questions. And I will tell stories.
And if an idea comes to me (like this one that you are reading now), I will listen to it, contemplate it, and share it.
If I do less, then I’m being an unfaithful son, and I will be unsatisfied, anxious, and defensive.
If I do more, then I’m playing God, and I will be tired, overspent, and resentful.
But if I do what I’m told…I will play the peace-making role that God has for me. It’s a minor part in the story of God, but it is mine, and that God, my Father, has given me one is the honor and identity of my life.
The way my brother Jesus said it was, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”