I know I did a recent post about idols but I can't get this out of my head lately...
For most of us, without even realizing it, we worship God and _____ or think we need God and ______. What comes after and for you?
The disciples left job security/income, homes, wives and children, knowing when their next meal would come.
Abraham came within moments of KILLING the son he had waited for decades to receive to ensure that God truly came first.
And we won't even go into how much Jesus had to sacrifice. We forget sometimes He was fully human when He went through everything He went through.
I think in this country it is difficult for us to really love and trust God because we'll never know what it means to rely on Him. We have the ability to earn or borrow our way to anything we could ever want. When we're not happy we just change something. Change churches, change jobs, change relationships, change locations.
“Okay, God, I just need to finish out the week to make sure I can pay this bill.”
“Well, that sounds exciting God but can you promise to pay me as much as I make now?”
“Ok God! Yes, let’s go! In fact, I’ll even take a huge pay cut to follow you! Oh, nothing? Well you can’t expect me to follow you for nothing. That’s not how this world works. This isn’t heaven yet!”
“Is there a retirement plan for following you, God? I really want to serve you but it’s smart to get my future figured out! I can’t just go off the deep end and think that you’ll provide for me in other ways.”
“I can’t do that! I need to be relevant. I don’t want to look legalistic. I don’t want to look weird. I need to be able to reach people!”
“Oh, I gave my children to God a long time ago. I love them dearly but I know God comes first. What? Our home and land? Well, we worked hard for it! That's ours to keep!"
“Oh, I clip coupons and shop garage sales and thrift stores! I don't need that designer stuff. Move away from my grandchildren? No, I don’t really think that’s fair to bring up. They need me and I help out a lot.”
"Well, aren't you coming God? I'm going over here now to serve you! You just adjust your plans for me around where I choose to go right? Oh. I guess I didn't really ask you. But this is what I want."
“Oh we’ve really been working on this lately! We’re giving away more money, we’re cutting back, we’re scaling down. A stranger? We can't have a stranger living with us. Eh, that’s not for our family. We need our space. Plus, you can’t trust people these days."
"You STILL want me here? I'm kind of bored. It's become mundane. When do I get to be the missionary?"
"I really have learned you don't need much in life. I am more about people than stuff. I want to show Christ's love. My ex-wife? No, I've moved on from that. I'm all about the here and now. The current people in my life. The past is the past."
"I'm the pastor of the church! We have ministries to keep up with and people to serve. We're already established. I don't understand. Why are you asking me to leave?"
“Oh, okay, I think I could do that just let me run home and get one more kiss from my husband/wife.”
“God what do you expect from me? I’ve struggled my whole life to provide for my family. We haven’t had a vacation in years, we’re always at church, nobody is doing drugs, I don’t beat my wife, we’ve figured out how to keep my wife home and home school the kids all off my income. Now you’re asking for something else?”
"Them? I don't associate with those people. Can't I just keep loving my wife and kids and leave it at that? I've been a good leader."
“Right now? Well let me call my daughter and talk to her one more time!”
“But God, look at all these people I’m leaving that need to be witnessed to right here. This is where I wanted to be used by you.”
“Can you give me until 6:30pm? I need to swing by and pick up my son from daycare and drop him off at my mom’s.”
"Sell everything... that was just for that one guy in the bible, right?"
“I… I don’t know if I really want to do that God. I mean, I talk to you 3 times a day and I think we have a pretty good relationship. I am nice to the people around me. I have even talked to them about you and given out a few bibles. But you can’t expect everyone to LITERALLY follow you. That’s just for certain people.”
“That is so awesome my husband and I have been talking about traveling with our boys and getting them out in the world and serving… Uh, I don’t understand. My ministry is my family. You want me to come alone?”
“I am totally up for this. Yes. Let’s go. Let me just tell my boss so hopefully I don’t get fired.”
“Okay, let’s go! Wait, following you means stay here? With them? I am really done with this place God. They don’t treat me well. I am ready to serve you somewhere else! Let’s go! I’ll go anywhere! No, I can’t stay here. I am miserable. Doesn’t the bible say something about making me happy?”
“Yes, God! I have been waiting for this moment! Let me go get my fiance and we will meet you by the gas station! Oh… what? You want me to come alone? But we’re just getting started. We have big plans together.”
“Yes, I always wanted a real adventure with God! And then when we come back I’ll be able to show you to all my friends! Wait, we’re not coming back? What about all my hobbies that take up all my time but I try to make them about you so I feel better about it? I get back to those at some point, right? I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to turn things I enjoy into serving you. I can't COMPLETELY follow you and give up all that.”
“I mean, I would totally be up for it. But I don’t think I can live THERE forever. What about somewhere else? You know I’m more of a mountains kind of person.”
“Well, wait a minute. Doesn’t following you mean I have to stop having sex with my boyfriend? I’ve heard that. I don’t really see why it’s wrong, but I guess it does make me squirm thinking about doing that with you around.”
“Awesome! Where is the limo?”
“God I would be miserable doing that. I know you only call me to do things that make me happy, so that must be for someone else. Remember, this is what I need to change in order to follow you. I have been talking to you about these things a lot lately so I know you’re going to change them really soon. You wouldn’t ask me to suffer. ”
“Well where are we going? Where are we going to stay? What will we eat? I mean, let me see this plan of yours before I go signing up for anything. Planning is the smart thing to do!”
“I can’t go there. Those people are weird. They eat weird stuff. You put me in America for a reason.”
“You want me to go where? That’s right down the street. Those people should be helping themselves. They’re a bunch of freeloaders. The bible says to work hard.”
“God, I can’t follow you until I finish my degree. You know I can’t make it in much of anything without a degree.”
“I will follow you if we go to somewhere cool and trendy that is in the news. But you said something about… Canada?! That really doesn’t make for a good story later, God. Let me know when another offer comes along.”
We all have hang ups in this world. Some of these are definitely mine. I don't know which ones you relate to. Some of them even seem well intentioned. Some people will say this is too extreme. What are you not willing to give up?