Tuesday, July 01, 2003

A Brief Visit from Brother Thomas Delphius, PART TWO


Fun test number two: Calculate the amount of time you spend watching television and playing video games and killing hours playing comp solitaire or blogging (haha) and all the other "leisure" activities we do, in a week. Heck, in a day. What percentage of your day/week is spent doing fun things? Now calculate your time with God, both personal and corporate, your time serving others, your time spent sharing encouragement or testimony, your time interacting with other people on a meaningful level? What percentage of your week does that come out to? My numbers don't look too good.

Based on sheer statistics, how much of your time is spent serving yourself versus serving others? C'mon, be honest.

If your numbers were as bad as mine, does that make you a bad person? Not necessarilly. And I'm not saying that you must spend six hours every day in Scripture meditation to be "holy enough". I'm not saying that at all.

All I'm trying to do is help you think. How did Jesus spend his time? How did he use every day? Did he have fun? Of course he did. Did he do leisure activities? In a way, yes. He hung out with his friends, talking. One of the first acts of his public ministry was going to a wedding of what appears to be a family friend. But Jesus realized that each day was a gift, and he used each day to its fullest. Even from a very young age, He knew that he had to be "about his Father's business." Is it any different for us? Do we have any other purpose in life, but to do the same?

Are we supposed to live up to Jesus' impossible standard? Yes.

Seriously. We have to, right? Or else, all of our words at church, in the hymns, in the prayers, in the books, they're all empty. "Oh, Lord, make us more like you... I want to be like Jesus... What would Jesus do?"

Do we mean it? Or is it just something trendy we say when we're with our church friends at the mall, spending more money on a pair of pants than many *American* families spend on weekly groceries?

Before I arouse your self-righteousness too much, let me rush to add that I'm as condemned as anyone. I waste time, I waste money, I have no true testimony with anyone I work with. I buy junk food and video games and DVDs I watch *once*. I spend and spend and spend, expecting God to just keep it coming. And then I beg God for more money to pay for my new truck. What am I doing. I spend every evening watching the same movies, which amount to little more than spiritual junk food, before throwing God a half-hearted and sleepy fifteen minutes of shallow prayer and Bible-skimming.

And we live in this amazing country, and we take it for granted that all of these things are available to us. While Christians in other continents starve and live in fear of torture, we complacently masquerade in Christian tee-shirts, clutching Gap shopping bags and slurping down our super-sized Cokes...

We have no perspective. We are blind to our own lavish blessings, thinking that it's normal. It's not. Our life in this country at this time is so far above the norm.

Think I'm being too preachy? Too radical and excessive? One more quick test. Read Philipians 4:10-13. Paul is telling the believers at Phillipi how grateful he is that they have become concerned with his needs. He goes on to make an interesting statement. He says that he knows what it is to be in need, and to be in plenty; what it's like to go hungry, and to be well-fed. I get the feeling that 99% of us can only claim half of that statement.

But he goes on to say that he's found the key to contentment in all situations. Now, stop and understand for a moment that he's in jail, in the cold muddy floor, chained to a wall, with rats and guards and stench and all. And he is telling these believers he knows how to be content in all situations.

Here's the question: Do we? Don't answer immediately. Because until you sacrifice something, you can't know the answer.

I'm not calling for radical restructuring of our lives, although I could. But I'm a coward, and a hypocrite, so I'm not going to lead that kind of radical (but in many ways biblical) charge. But I am going to leave you with this challenge. Start to include God in your daily decisions. Ask God to open your eyes to better ways to use your time, your money, your talent. Before you take that shiny, cellophane-wrapped prize to the checkout counter, ask yourself honestly if this is really what you need, and not simply what you tell yourself you need. Because most of the time, the honest question will receive the answer "no."

You see, we have gotten so caught up in the things we tell ourselves we need, that we have been blinded to what we really need all along.

Or, rather, Who we really need.

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