Friday, March 21, 2014

In the Annex

One of the common misconceptions, I think, among unbelievers is this idea that if I follow God, my world is going to shrink. Like choosing God eliminates so many other possibilities, removes the chance to do other things, catches a person in an ever-shrinking box as she stops doing simply anything she pleases and is limited to doing only what God wants.

What a lie! Spend some time talking with persons who are living close to God, and you will understand quickly that choosing God does not contract a man's life; it expands it. And for a practical example (a profound metaphor, to be precise), we need look no further than the wisdom of Solomon. 

Solomon was renowned for his wisdom. Can we agree on that much? People came from all over the world to hear him speak, to listen to truth come out of his mouth, to have him settle arguments amongst them because he was the one whose judgment was sober and heart was wise. He also built the Temple, the Lord's dwelling place among His people. Oh, the things we read right over...

The story is in 1 Kings 6. He built an annex containing side rooms all around the temple. (5) We have an annex building in our downtown - it's a place for those who sort of work for the courthouse to hold their offices, since the courthouse is reserved solely for the administration of justice. But lawyers, government agencies, social services...they are housed in the annex. That's what an annex is for. It's for the tangentially-related, part-but-not-part of things endeavors. In terms of the Temple, the annex was for the people who did the work of the Lord; the Lord lived in the Temple. 

So here, you're going to find priests. There will be some Levites. The men who were responsible for caring for the Temple and carrying out the sacrifices, the rituals, and the works of the Lord would live in the annex. Next to God, side-by-side, somewhere between the Temple and the world.

This is also where we find ourselves. Near God, so very near to Him, side-by-side trying to find our way through this place, trying to do a good and holy work, somewhere between holy and humanoid. 

Now, take a look at the details of the annex: This annex was next to the walls of the main building and the inner sanctuary. The interior of the lowest story of the annex was 7 1/2 feet wide, the second story was 9 feet wide, and the third story was 10 1/2 feet wide. (5b-6)

Do the math on that for a second. Let those numbers sink into your head, and imagine what this might look like. It's inverted! The smallest rooms are on the bottom; the bigger rooms at the top. As you climb the stairs, your space expands.

You may say, sure. It was an architectural design. Solomon was trying for something a little bit crazy because it was such a special place. Don't be so naive. Remember Babel? Man was building a tower to the heavens because he believed that the further he got off the ground, the closer he got to the heavens. The higher a man was raised, the closer to God he was. Therefore, being in the second story of the annex puts you closer to God than the first, and the third puts you even closer than that. By the design of the annex, then, the closer you get to God, next to Him but rising higher, the more room you have to move around.

And that is the truth. If you want to be close to God and to this world, you find yourself constricted. Everything shrinks around you as you discover that what the world is looking for is always different, that you must not commit to anything except not committing, and as you morph into the new image of the world, you have to figure out how to change your relationship with God to match that. You can, and will, be many different things but you will spend your life wondering how to also be God's in that circumstance. 

If, however, you commit yourself to being wholly God's first, and then try to come deal with this world, you give yourself a little breathing room. You remove yourself from so much of the dirt, and you have a new perspective on seeing things. You get to be what God has called you to be, and you see how that is going to work within the context of the world - because you have a bird's-eye view. You can see things from above, see how the pieces are fitting together, see where you fit in. Between the holy work and the hallowed ground. All of a sudden, you're not trying to do everything (and thus doing nothing of meaning); you are focused on doing something. You see where that seed is going to be planted, and just how wide its branches will grow. (Although, it's hard to anticipate such a thing. The little things always seem to be the big ones.) In that place, life seems bigger. It seems fuller. It seems better. Because it is all of those things.

Jesus said, I have come that they might have life. And have it more abundantly. And that is the truth. Position yourself beside God; live in the annex. And strive for the third floor. Raise yourself up from the dirt of this place and get a new perspective. Rise toward the heavens and draw near to God. It will broaden your life...and your living space. 

No comments:

Post a Comment