I’ve encountered powerful words and thoughts this week in pursuit of how Jesus is teaching me to live my life as He would live my life. I’ve settled on these: Immersion—(I’m in! Not just dangling my toes—I’m in.) Engagement. Connection. Passion. Meaning.
Hugh Halter has given us a beautiful and powerful writing in Flesh published by David C. Cook. It is about incarnation. Why Jesus became flesh and came. Why God decided Incarnation and redemption was the best strategy. God wanted His family back!
“We settle for faith about Him, and we let Him be our Savior, but so few let Him actually buy their lives back.” (Halter)
Jesus has bigger dreams and hopes for us than to have redeemed us so we can tack our faith onto a “normal” life. Jesus is all about passion and meaning.
The movie reviewer for Gannett (USAToday) complained about the way the actor portrays Jesus in Son of God. The actor gets the love and compassion stuff right, “but he plays the part too wimpy, a kind of hippy-dippy Savior. …but when we get to Jesus kicking the moneychangers out of the temple it seems incongruous.” (Bill GoodyKoontz)
My immediate reaction was that the reviewer really gets the passion and meaning stuff. He wants a kick-ass Jesus, not a smiling deliverer of one-liners. Passion and meaning.
I met a missionary to Ethiopia about a year ago. He is a native of Africa. My family responded to that conversation by buying a chicken hatchery there. Last evening, he told me about speaking in two public schools in our city this week. He ate in the school cafeterias. He looked horror stricken as he told me about watching the students scrape food into the trash. Not scraps, just food they didn’t want. My Ethiopian friend could have fed his whole commune with the thrown away food.
He talked about 4 million orphans. When Carole asked him how he keeps from burning out or going crazy over the huge needs. He said all he can do is try to reach one. If we are only going to reach one out of 4 million, we had better reach the right one! Passion and meaning must be connected to strategies, plans and tactics.
Maybe that is why one phrase gets my vote for “Words of the week.” Again from Hugh Halter:
“I want you to know about redemption—it is a full refund. God didn’t do all this—give His one and only Son for a partial refund or an in-store credit….”
“In-store credit.” Let that float around in your soul. Our redemption is not an in-store credit that has value only in church.
I am collecting an increasing number of acquaintances with ties to third-world countries. One of the most exciting young women added to my extended family is from Ethiopia. One of my friends took a truck load of Shoe Boxes to Africa. I ask them all the same question, “Where do we start? What do we do?” They all have the overwhelmed look of trying to count 4 million one at a time. When they stop shaking their heads at the size of the task, they say “Infrastructure.”
Roads, water, jobs, schools, businesses, legitimate governments that know how to get things done legally and with quality.
No in-store credits!
Copyright 2014 D. Dean Benton
Benton Quest House