Let the Cat in the Shower

My cat loves the shower.  He scratches at the door, yells, and mopes when he can’t get in.  He seems desperate to get in there… until I turn the water on.  Then it’s a different story.

I feel like we behave similarly when we ask God for things and aren’t responsive to what He provides.  Even with our hearts in the right place we may ask for new ways to serve… but when the water comes on it’s not exactly what we wanted or where we wanted or who we wanted to serve with.

I’ve often been the guy who begs and then is unhappy once I get exactly what I asked for.  Fear gives me pause.  Uncertainty causes doubt.  My comfort zone is somewhere else.  I’m quite good at making excuses.  When the water first hits me I start doing amazing acrobatics to get out of there.  I want in… but once I get access, I want out.

I want to serve God, but I don’t want to miss the game.  I want to share His message, but I don’t want to sound weird.  I want to pray over strangers, but I’m afraid.  I want to preach Christ to the world, but I don’t want to leave my house.  I want to follow in His footsteps, but I don’t want to give anything up.  I want in the shower, but I don’t want the water on.

One simple question that my cat doesn’t understand… what good is a shower without water?  Exactly.  What good is a servant that isn’t willing to serve?  What kind of sacrifice can you make when you won’t allow for change?  What kind of Christian doesn’t act like Christ?

Can I challenge you to turn on the water?  It will be cold, and then it will be too hot.  But with the right focus and some adjustments, you will eventually be washed clean.    I know many people who rank themselves over others because they are willing to go into the shower.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the measure of the Christian.  What matters, is if we come out clean or not.  We would all walk into a den… but not many would willingly go into one full of lions.  We would all check out a furnace… but not one fully lit.  Turn on the water and put the Christ back in Christian.

Ducks, the Parable

I noticed something interesting when I brought bread for the ducks.

Some of them came right to the fence and received as much bread as they wanted (after all, bread crumbs don’t throw that far, no matter how strong you are).

Some swam across the pond and waded near the edge of the land.  They got the scraps that bounced down the bank.

Some did not trust this strange looking meat eater hurling bread at them and remained in shelter across the pond.  They did not get any bread at all.  (I’m not good at panorama yet, so I’ll just describe that there were about 10 ducks that actually came on land, a few dozen circling in the water, and far too many to count on the far bank.  If you view the image full size you can see some from each group.)

Does this sound familiar?  It feels like a parable right out of the Bible, doesn’t it?   Jesus calls all people to come to Him.  We typically see 3 responses:

Some of us walk right up to Him and touch His robe to receive healing (Matthew 9:20), wash His feat (Luke 7:38), or just follow Him (Matthew 4:19).

Others get close, but not too close.  We keep a safe distance so we have room to run if need be.  Simply put, these are called lukewarm (Revelation 3:16).

The last group doesn’t even bother getting up.  Be careful in interpreting this one.  Its not who you think.  These aren’t atheists, agnostics, or that “other” religion that seems to beat you to lunch every Sunday.  Lets assume for a moment that all ducks are Christians.  These would be the ones that know better and yet disobey anyway.  These are the ones that sit back in judgement.  These are the Pharisees and many, many, far too many of those are counted among Christians today. (2 Timothy 3:5)

Yes, there is risk in getting close to the fence.  Dangerous predators, tricky humans, and being outside of your comfort zone.  It could easily be the last mistake those ducks ever make.  But if they could talk, I believe they would claim its worth it.  They got their daily bread.  Take a quick glance at Jesus who fed the multitudes.  Who were the multitudes?  They were the people who followed Him.  He wasn’t beating down their doors and dragging them along.  They chose to follow.  And then He fed them.

This might not be the most theological nor deep reading you’ve ever encountered.  But I hope, in your life, you can see how important it is to be at the feet of the true bread giver.  Unlike myself with the ducks, Jesus can provide safety, love, and bread for life.  Me, I just give stale bread (and a little love, the pants ducks are cute… the ones that look like Dockers logos).  When Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary…”  that requires a response.  You can’t just sit back in your comfort zone and receive the rest that is promised after.

Think of it as a transaction.  If you come to me, then I will give you bread.  If you stay there, someone else will get your bread.  We always get caught up in the works/grace confusion.  And I think this helps explain quite a bit.  If “YOU” will do your part (going to the Lord), then He will fulfill His promises (so many wonderful promises).  Who is doing it?  God.  Why is He doing it?  Because you accepted it by following Him closely.  Think of your getting up and following Him as a “YES!” answer to His question.  And, conversely, when you do nothing you are responding, “Meh”.  Gifts require accepting.  We must reach out and take the gift.  We must waddle over to the master and receive His blessings.

It’s scary to answer the call of Jesus.  A fair portion of the world hates us (Mark 13:13), We operate by faith rather than sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and we stand out awkwardly from the rest of the world (Romans 12:2).  But the reward is absolutely worth it.  Being near is reward enough.  But much more awaits those that follow.

My favorite part about feeding the ducks?  After a few days, they recognize me… and when I round the corner to head for the pond, they start running towards the fence yelling.  That’s right, its noisy!  I assume they are yelling, “BREAD!!!!!”  Quite honestly, this is how I picture Christians.  Simply put, they are only group number 1 mentioned above.  They run to the Savior, singing His praise.  There is no doubt, no hesitation, and no care for the risks because the risks are so worth it.

One final thought.  Once enough ducks find out that the bread is good, eventually more ducks start coming closer, over time.  The trust grows as the duck peers see more and more of those around seeking out the bread.  This is where you come in.  Step one is to follow Christ.  But once you’ve tasted the sweet bread of life… its time to share.  The call of Jesus is to ALL.  Some of our brothers and sisters need some help to get across the pond.

Resist – WordPress Daily Prompt

via Daily Prompt: Resist

This phrase conjures up for me chants of the masses.  I think back to high school where rebellion to be different was so popular, everyone looked the same.  Be different!… just like everyone else.

Resistance certainly has its place in all cultures, but I fear that a great many have lost the ability to know when its useful.

There have been news reports of children calling 911 on parents for taking their Xbox away (1).   Where did they learn that behavior?  Probably from the parents who called 911 on the fast food restaurant who didn’t get their order right (2).

What it boils down to, in my mind, what is worth resisting?  As a Christian, I’m allowed to have my own political beliefs, agendas, and deep rooted opinions.  But the follow-up question is inevitably, what is worth resisting?  In other words, what do I want to be known for?

Do I want to be the guy who got fired because I couldn’t stand bad coffee in the break room any longer?  I could be like Seinfeld and refuse to tolerate women who eat one pea at a time.  Over every little injustice that creeps into my life, I could stomp my foot and strike up the Twisted Sister song, “We’re Not Gonna Take it!”  For myself, I want to be known for my Christianity.  So instead of taking up the flag of tax reform, I don the banner of Christ.  I still vote for the tax reform I want, but its not the most important issue in my life.  Its not what I want to be known for when I’m gone.

Can I stand up for myself?  Yes!  When?  That is what I find so critical today.  When should we choose to ignore versus fighting back for a fundamental right?  And these questions seem to swirl around the issue.  But they all paint the same picture.  Can you function in a world where you don’t always get your way?  Is resistance always making its way into your vocabulary?  Do you have to think for a moment to consider all the different things you fought against?

Perhaps we should all ponder what matters in life?  What defines us?  Who do you want to be?  What gets in the way of your dreams?  What stops you from being a complete version of you?  Maybe those things are worth opposing.  Instead of letting world news be your buffet of resistible offerings, choose for yourself that you will define the true you, and then only focus on what matters most when taking a stand.

Far too many have confused ‘getting my way’ with ‘taking a stand for the good cause’.  Some of us need to grow up.  More of us need to know up.  We need to learn about ourselves and finally decide who that person in the mirror needs to be.  Don’t let the world define you.  Knee jerk opposition is just that.  Define yourself, and then you can make your own memorable and lasting impression on the world.  Don’t be the girl who makes her life’s work protesting the removal of the McRib. (3)

 

  1.  Child calls 911 after parents take away Xbox
  2. 911 call over drive thru order
  3. Facebook page of McRib protest

Resist