When I was a kid, I had a place in my bedroom closet where you could actually see the floor. I cleaned that spot out just so that I could fit there. It was on the back of the closet behind a bunch of other stuff. It was maybe 2 feet by 2 feet; no more. Just enough for me to sit. It was my place. Nobody knew about it (not that anyone cared to), and I loved it that way. I kind of feel the same way here. If you’re reading this, and you’re not me, you found this by accident. I’m not public with this thing, ironically enough. Like that place in my childhood closet, this is just for me. And if I have told you about this place, then you should realize that I’m considering you pretty close.
It doesn’t take too much sniffing around my blog to realize that I’m fairly irregular in my writings here. I guess I’m too busy living my life. Blogs are such a ridiculous luxury. It makes me wonder how all the people with so much to say on their blogs ever have any time to live the life that would substantiate such claims. I’d rather just live.
But here I am at my keyboard, trying not to waste too much time moving my fingers and watching words appear on the screen. But I think maybe I have something to commit to my blog today.
Jesus. He’s just on my mind. Nevermind the fact that I call him Savior, but I also would like to consider Him a personal friend of mine. I’d like to say we’re on a first-name basis. I don’t call him Mr. Christ or anything like that.
I’ve been thinking about His life on earth and the enormous amount that His life has to do with my life. When Jesus was walking along one day, He (again) said some pretty stirring things. But this particular time, they were words that more people choked on than normally would. He said, “I’m the bread of life.” At that, lots of people who were following Him stopped. They stopped following Him after He said that. It was like it was just too much. The miracles were cool, and even some of His teachings made sense–He was definitely known for the power and authority that He spoke with, authority other teachers seemed to sadly lack. But this “bread of life” stuff crossed the line. They couldn’t swallow that. So many left and stopped following Him.
Jesus is a tree shaker. He shook the tree hard that day. They may have been one of the hardest shakes of His life. There were other shakes, but that one sticks out to me.
I remember my first sermon. The very first one as a fulltime pastor. I was teaching on Colossians 3:1-3. Look it up if you want to. If you don’t have a Bible handy, I like http://www.biblegateway.com/. You can find it there.
Anyway, not long after I got home from that church service that Sunday morning, I got a call on the phone. It was one of the members of our church, and he was not happy at all. I don’t recall all of his words, but I’ll never forget these: “I don’ t know how many people you drove from the church today.” Gulp. This was my first sermon ever and this was the commentary I get afterwards? I thought, “Have we thrown all those boxes away already?”
Tough teachings. Jesus gave them. Because following Him isn’t “easy” the way we think it ought to be. Following Jesus would be so much easier if it were cool. If it were popular. If it were fun. But it’s rarely any of those things.
“Jesus Is My Homeboy” the t-shirt read. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was pretty sure of the philosophy behind whoever thought it was a good idea. It’s the same philosophy that cranks out other paraphenalia like the t-shirt with the Ford-esque logo, asking “Have you considered the Lord lately?” Is this what Jesus had in mind when He called His disciples? Is this what dangerously living for Christ looks like? I’m not saying anything, I’m just saying.
So, after the whole “bread of life” statement, Jesus turned to one of His boys named Peter. Jesus asked Peter, “How about you? Are you going to leave too?” Peter said the very thing that I want to be the centerpiece of my existence–the reason why I do anything that I do–he said, “Where would we go? You have the words of life.” Peter was confessing to Jesus, “To me, you’re the only option. I don’t have a back-up plan here. I’m all in.”
As I type “I’m all in”, I shivered. Maybe it’s just chilly in here. Or maybe I realize that these words I’m claiming are big words. And my life had better reflect an “all in” commitment.