It’s my way or the highway! If you don’t play like I want I will just take my ball and go home! There are two ways to do things; the wrong way and my way. What needs to be done is as clear as the nose on your face.
I wonder how many cliches there are about getting what we want or setting our own agenda? Can you think of any?
Yes, we’ve all heard that there is no “i” in “team” but when the rubber meets the road we all want what we want. It’s pretty simple really. My goals focus on the three most important people – me, myself and I.
Enter Jesus, stage left. He’s not at all about “I.” In fact, the bible tells us to put others above ourselves, to serve, to humble ourselves, to bear with each other, to seek peace and act on behalf of others. There’s the stuff about turning the other cheek, forgiving and walking two miles when someone asks us to go one. Man, that’s a lot different than the code most of us live by! It’s even opposite.
“Greater love has no man than this, to give up his life for his friend.” – Jesus
Woah. Give up my life? Dang, I have a tough enough time just giving up my agenda! You?
It’s weird how we all have this idea that we know something about everything. Our doctors don’t know what they are doing, our contractors could learn so much from us and even the kid who mows our lawn would just be so much better off if he would just listen to us. I wonder where that comes from.
In churches we have people who are sure they know what God wants. They present their plans and then firmly attach the gold seal that says, “Approved by God.” I am always intrigued when I see two of God’s supposed spokespeople clash with very different ideas from God. Evidently God gets confused a lot. Or maybe He forgets when He tells one person one thing and another person something entirely different?
I can’t pretend to know what God wants. From what I read in scripture, I see that He wants me to be like Jesus and motivated by what motivates Him. That tends to give me enough to think about. The biggies are clear, but as to what time God wants us to meet or how long or whether He wants us to build a new education wing or not, I tend to just shrug my shoulders. Does He want us to sing hymns or choruses? Shrug. Does He like stained glass and ornate crosses or prefer modern windows and converted movie theaters? Shrug.
I think we can make decisions but we’re treading on thin ice when we attach God’s endorsement to everything we feel strongly about. I don’t think God is into endorsement deals. Even Joshua tried to sign Him up.
Joshua 5:13-15 And then this, while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword. Joshua stepped up to him and said, “Whose side are you on – ours or our enemies’?” He said, “Neither. I’m commander of God’s army. I’ve just arrived.” Joshua fell, face to the ground, and worshiped. He asked, “What orders does my Master have for his servant?” God’s army commander ordered Joshua, “Take your sandals off your feet. The place you are standing is holy.” Joshua did it. (The Message)
Did you catch that? Joshua is direct. “Whose side are you on?” The answer goes beyond us, beyond our agendas, beyond our plans. The commander says “Neither.” It’s like he is telling Joshua that it’s not about sides at all. God is so much bigger than sides. Don’t think you can manipulate God into working for you. Just worship God.
Can we promise each other something? Let’s promise to just approach each other with, “hey, I think this is a good idea” rather than come charging in with God-endorsed deals. I always feel bad arguing with God.
If we can’t do that, maybe it’s time to pick up our ball and head home.