There is a wonderful hymn called “Will you come and follow me?” Obviously the hymn was written with Jesus in mind and has the voice of Jesus speaking to us through the lyrics and music of the hymn.
One of the lines that makes me stop and think comes where the hymn asked by Jesus if my life attest or scares? I usually want to laugh when I come to that part in the song! Its one of those audacious questions that could make me either laugh or cry. I’d rather laugh and yet the thought stays with me. Does my life attract others to Jesus or does my life scare people away from Jesus’ side?
The answer to that question on any given day could indeed make me cry! If I am honest with myself if not with you then I would have to admit there are times when I may very well scare people away from Jesus.
I say “may” because I don’t know. My observation even when there’s an honest critique is flawed. I have no way of knowing how I effect or affect others.
Now the reality is that the look on someone’s face can speak volumes. The body language can be quite clear. Other responses can give me no doubt as to the affect or effect I’ve had on someone.
But as those close to me often say – its not always about you. And it isn’t always you that is the prime cause. Not that doesn’t let me off the hook but it does give me some food for thought and action.
Case in point there was a man came knocking on the church door some time ago. I talked to him and more importantly listened to what he said and what he indicated he needed. After some time I suggested a number of avenues that were the most helpful and beneficial. Off he went.
It turned out that he wasn’t satisfied with answers I gave him. After a couple of hours the church phone rang and I answered it. It was the chap who had stopped by the church earlier in the afternoon. He was phoning around to all the churches still seeking help.
Now the help he wanted in retrospect was a short cut. A bandaid solution. Something akin to what Abraham and Sarah did in their Old Testament experience. Instead of waiting on God to fulfil his promise of a son Sarah and Abraham cooked up the idea of Abraham and Sarah’s slave Hagar producing a child together. Then Abraham wouldn’t have to wait on God and would have a son and that would be that!
As is known the babe produced by Abraham and Hagar was the older brother of the God provided babe Isaac who Sarah birthed. Sarah felt threatened by the older son, and all sorts of troubles and complications arose because of the two baby solution.
The guy on the phone sought such a solution. I must confess to my sorrow and shame I was short with the man having already dealt with him, and told him so. Since then I have kept the guy in prayer and hope that God mends what I complicated.
I wonder if there’s not a tendency to complicate things? Do we seek short cuts rather than wait upon God and see what God is doing and how God wants us to be involved? Either individually or collectively is there the tendency to run ahead of God and think we have the divine sanction to do so?
In dealing with others individually or in dealing with other collectively is there the sense that we ourselves think we know best and anyone who contradicts that is summarily dismissed? To connect with where we began do we individually and collectively say and do words and actions which attract others to Jesus or scare them away?
Is what we, as Jesus’ people, say and do consistent with the love and generosity of God in Christ Jesus or consistent with much less?
The short answer is I don’t know but the question is worth asking and pondering. So I leave it with you to ponder, pray, and be open to God’s leading.
The grace and peace of Christ Jesus be with you as you do!