I could have picked an easier job than trying to be a Christian minister. I once told a lady that this is what I was going to school for and her response was, “Really. People still do that?” I think it is even harder to try to do this in a world where most of us have been tricked into an entitlement mentality and I mean everybody from the lowest economic rung to the highest. As a said in a recent sermon, “How can you feel grateful for what you feel entitled too?” As we approach 2013, I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if we try to get real rather than continuing to invest in our illusions.
When I first felt called to be a minister, I thought that I’d suck at the job, because I did not think I could go around telling everybody to pray for the kind of miracles most people think they need. All I could really offer was, “When you feel those thorns in your flesh that won’t go away no matter how hard you beg, pray, or try to remove them yourself, remember that God’s grace is sufficient.” That’s how I experience the gospel and I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear that. I’m not making any promises about financial, romantic, or political fantasies coming true. It just pretty much sums up to God’s grace is sufficient.
Have you ever wondered why the Bible has all of the things in there that any god with a good PR team would have suggested was left out? Just think about it. In my Bible, the Christ, Prophets, Kings, and Priests all went through a whole bunch of junk and a lot of them did junk to other people too. Jesus who is supposed to be the team captain for Christians had his friends and family not see him for who he really was, was deserted by his homeboys, betrayed by one and got killed for telling the truth. That does not sound like the romantic fantasy that many of us want. And when people said that they wanted to follow him, he said, “Take up your cross and bear it.” Now this does not mean followers of his Way have to have a life of problems. No. It just means that we rely on grace to get us beyond the point when our own resources run out. Does that sound like good news to you? If so then welcome aboard. If not, the Way is going to be a real drag. I suggest you don’t bother with the Bible and just pick up a copy of The Secret.
Don’t get me wrong, the stuff from those types of books are all in the Bible too as well as stuff from Wuthering Heights, The Hunger Games, Jersey Shore, and The Young and the Restless. That’s because the Bible reflects all of the stuff that happens in life–the good, the bad, and the ugly–and as we engage with it, it gives us a chance to see the good, bad, and ugly in ourselves and then with the help of grace maybe our souls will get out of here a little better off than they did when we came in.