Here's a question for you to start the week: why are you where you are right now? Why are you living in the place you live, going to the church you go to, working in the job you're working, loving in the family you're loving? Why are you at this particular place in the universe at this particular time in history?
The world makes it simple. The world simply tells you the answer is "why-ever you want to be." This is your life, and you can make it whatever you want it to be. And in the same breath, the world will tell you that this is where you are because this is where you've chosen to be. The sum of your choices that you've made with your life has brought you to this place, for better or worse.
Christians will often tell you something very different, something instilled with great depth and meaning: you are here because God wants to use you in this place. God has something for you to do right here, right now, and He has put you here just for that reason. Thus, you are supposed to live your life always looking for the next thing that God wants you to do, for whatever opportunity He's putting in your path right here. You're supposed to spend your life figuring out exactly what your gift is so that you can use it in this place, so you can see what God is wanting you to do and to get on board with it and make this most of this opportunity.
After all you don't want to let God down. If the God of the Universe has orchestrated for you to be right here, right now, then it must be for a very important reason and you do not want to mess this up.
This sounds good to most of us. We're on board with this plan. It sounds meaningful and purposeful and Christian enough. It gives us a sense of rightness to our lives, like we're part of something bigger than ourselves. It's everything we want out of a belief system.
But is it everything we want of God?
What if there's another answer for why you are where you are right now? What if you're here just because...God loves you?
What if you are in this place at this time because God wants to love you here? What if you're here because He wants to show you something? What if you're in this time and place not to do anything, but just to be here? Just to be...loved?
It's the dirty little secret of today's Christianity - we are a people simply not satisfied to be loved by Him. We say that it is the foundation of our faith, but the truth is that we are a people desperate to be known by our works. We always think we have to show our faith by doing, and never just by being. And we're desperately afraid to say that we're doing nothing in particular right now but letting God love us.
And yet...the love of God for His people is the very heart of the Christian faith. The love of God for us is the foundation of everything that we believe. We declare it, and the sad truth is that most of the persons in today's church do not know what it feels like to be loved by God.
Because they are so focused on, so certain, that the best part of the Christian faith is being used by Him.
Let that sink in for a bit. Search your own heart and see whether this resonates with you at all. And then, stay tuned, because we're going to talk about this for a few days.