Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Set-Up

You know what else I'm reflecting on as I think about Jesus in this season of waiting? I'm thinking about just how little set-up went into everything He did.

I spend so much of my life trying to make sure all the pieces are in place. Every new day, every new adventure, I waste half my time setting up and tearing down, as if this whole thing is one big stage production. As if my life only matters if I can get people to look. Not only look, but have an experience of my life the way we have an experience of a good concert or a powerful retreat or even a captivating movie. 

There's a problem with that. It's all smoke and mirrors. It's all flashing lights. Beneath it all, I'm still just simple me. Hardly worth, most days, the experience.

But Jesus...

Jesus never made a production of who He was or what He was doing. We see Him teaching on the hillsides - without a PA system. We see Him breaking bread - with His own hands. We see Him bumping into people along the way - and taking the time to interact with them. He profoundly lacked both a schedule and an agenda, as well as all of the accouterments we might associate with a "successful" public presence. For more proof of that, know this: from the very beginning of His ministry, He declares, and knows, that He's headed for Jerusalem. That's a given. But He doesn't just go there. He never just goes there. He weaves and waits and wanders as He just kind of feels this place out, doing the thing that feels right within His calling and avoiding the thing that is not who He is. Without making a production of it.

I want to live like that.

I want to live not worried about what people are thinking of me. I want to live not worried about how I'm reaching them. I want to live so confident in the truth of God's word and presence in me that I don't have to worry about such things. That's how that confidence manifests itself - in the calm and peace of spirit to simply be as God has created you to be without show, for you know that the glory of God showing through you is experience enough.

And I guess that's kind of the tension for so many of us. We want that kind of showless grace, the kind that is quiet and simple yet penetrating and resonating. In my heart, I know that's what I long for. As much as God has called me to write, to speak, to minister, I never long for people to walk away thinking about how awesome I was. I cringe at the very thought. And yet, I feel like if I don't bring a good measure of showmanship, the story of God might get lost in the all the noise. It's for His sake that I labor in such a way to make an experience of my experience of God, that you might see the extravagant dynamism of it all.

Yet He never asked me to do that. He never asked you to do that. He never asked any of us to make a production of the Christian life, or even the Christian grace, or even the Christ Himself. He never asked us to set up our tents, wire our microphones, load the canons and cue the flashing lights. He never told us if we wanted the world to see Him, we'd have to make Him a show.

Rather, He has always only said that if we want the world to see Him, we must show them who He is. We do that by living as He's created us to live, by loving as He loves, and by showering the world with grace and mercy in the same way He rains these good gifts down on us.

I probably spend too much time setting things up, trying to make them perfect for you to see His glory. I probably spend too much time thinking there has to be a gimmick, has to be a show. I probably spend too much time erecting and not enough time exalting, for if I could simply live exalting, you certainly would see Him. If I wasn't working so hard to make a show of Him, even for His own sake, He could show Himself.

Isn't that better?

No comments:

Post a Comment