Friday, February 21, 2014

Good but not Right

Matthew 8:21-22
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Last night my son Kai got out of bed to ask me an "important" question.  He comes up with all the most essential questions after he is supposed to go to bed.  When he came into the living room he saw that I was cleaning up the room.  Immediately he forgot whatever his primary excuse was for getting up and asked if he could help me clean up.

Doesn't that sound awesome?  What a responsible young 4 year old.  Of course I said, "NO!"  And warned him that if he got out of bed again he would be in big trouble.  He begged me to allow him to help saying, "But daddy, when  will I ever get to help clean??!?!!"  I wouldn't let him help, and 5 minutes he was crying in bed because there will never be anything for him to clean......

This morning, I offered for him to help me pick up some stuff before breakfast.  Guess who had zero interest in cleaning?  That kid!

Ultimately, his issue last night was not his heartfelt desire to be a helpful kid, it was his unwillingness to do what he was supposed to do...Go to Bed!  He is too smart to just say, "Can I watch a movie and eat candy??"  He says, "Daddy, let me clean for you"  Hoping that pretending to be a good kid will get him more traction with his dad to get what he wants. 

We create these false comparisons in our heads all the time.  Sure, I am not doing what I really should be doing, but look, I am doing something REALLLLLYY important right now.  We avoid primary responsibilities by filling our time with peripheral distractions.  The trick is that the things we use to avoid what is Right is not by doing something "bad", but in doing something that in a vacuum is a good thing as well.

In college I was the king of only cleaning my room if I had a paper to write.  I could guarantee that during midterms and exams my stuff would be spotless.  For weeks I had no concern about piles of laundry and unvacuumed floors, but the minute something I didn't want to do that I absolutely should do came up, I became a cleaning machine. 

Our ultimate purpose, the essential truth to what is Right and Good, is to follow hard after Jesus.  And when the call comes, we have all sorts of legitimate sounding reasons to put off the true life of Discipleship. 

I knew a guy in college who never had time for the things of God because he was so busy doing "school" and other such important things.  He most confidently assured everyone that once college was over he would be sooooo serious about Christ.  Guess how that worked out?  Just up and left his wife for another woman without warning 3 years after getting married.....

That which is the Right thing to do, is the primary thing we should do.  Not just what is "good".   

When the man tells Jesus that he will follow him after he buries his dad, he is saying, "I totally know you are a priority, but let me do this other stuff first."  The language doesn't indicate that his dad had just died, it indicates that he was just going to wait for his dad to die, whenever that might be.  See, he claimed he wanted to follow Jesus, as long as it didn't interfere with his plans.  

We want to relegate Jesus to a little convenient box in the back corner of our heart.  When we "need" Him, we'll pull Him out and let Him do His thing.   But, most of the time, we just want Him to keep quiet in there since we "got this".

There is nothing more essential, more valuable, more Right, than following Christ.  What are the "good" things that you use as excuses for why today is not the day you start?

Catching up on sleep?


All that family "stuff"?

Gotta fix this "problem" first?

Waiting to "feel" more into it?

Once the kids grow up?  Or, you grow up?

If we start with that which is merely "good", we will never do that which is RIGHT.  If you prioritize that which is Right, we will find ourselves constantly successfully living within that which is Good.  When Christ goes before you, all the other issues that have been distractions to walking with Christ will be accomplished in ways beyond your imagining.  When we don't start with Christ, those things will never cease their consuming nature in your life.

No more "legitimate" excuses.  Become a disciple!

Is this how you deal with priorities?

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