I have four high school friends that completely rock. At forty-something (I won’t say forty-what because I want to still be able to call them friends) they are all running marathons, or have become physical trainers or visit physical trainers with obsession. And the result is they look marvelous! Really great. They always did look great, but my hat goes off to them all for the effort they are making to stay physically fit and healthy. I am inspired.
Karen, Kay, Jeannie, and Michelle, you inspire me.
Well, in my heart I am inspired. Sitting here in my chair as I type this I am definitely inspired. I may even walk briskly to the mailbox to get my mail today. I am that inspired. I am sure my heart rate is going up even as I think of all they are doing.
But inspiration only goes so far if you are not quickly moved to action. Inspiration tells you, “I could do that. I should do that. I even want to do that.” But then we begin to reason with ourselves.
“I surely don’t have that kind of time. I couldn’t possibly fit that kind of exercise into my busy schedule. They must have maids, and nannies. They couldn’t possibly work as much as I do. Yeah, I can’t do that. It’s okay. Maybe next year I can do what they are doing. Sure. One more year can’t hurt. Who wants to be that fanatical about anything?”
And then just as quickly as the inspiration comes, it goes away again. We leave that kind of dedication to the fanatics.
I’ve been reading and listening to a few sermons from Francis Chan lately. This past summer my husband and oldest two sons went to work a youth camp where he was speaking. I bought his book, Crazy Love, for my sons to read. I’m always looking for an excuse to get good Christian writing into their hands and heads. About a month ago I was cleaning up their room (Ick) and ran across the book. I picked it up, and noticed a bookmark in the book about three quarters of the way through. Hurray! Someone had actually been reading it.
I began thumbing through the book and before I knew it I was reading it myself. Francis is what most people would call a fanatical Christian. He knows this. The problem he has, and what he states in his book, is why aren’t we all?
Not too long after reading the book, I had a marathon sermon morning where I popped onto Youtube, and listened to a plethora of messages from Andy Stanley, Erwin McManus, Francis, and the like- all while cleaning up my house. I can multi-task. I like these speakers because they remind me of the messages my husband once gave in his pastor days. Straightforward, right between the eyes, truth.
During this marathon, I clicked on a snippet of a message from Francis that I’d like for you to hear also. Go ahead… it’s only four minutes long. I’ll wait.
See what I mean? I hear this kind of stuff and I get inspired… at least for a little while. I don’t have disdain for Jesus Freaks, I try to be one. Yet I realize that so often I find myself in that middle road. We are called to walk as Jesus walked, but Jesus never set foot on that middle road. Never once. So why do I? Why do we? We study scripture, and never really allow it to make significant change in our lives. Jesus wasn’t about living a comfortable life with all the trimmings. Jesus was what most today would call a fanatic. We read or hear about people who are doing radical things in the name of Christ and for his kingdom, and we are content to let them do it, while we…don’t.
I think of all the widows and orphans in Burundi, Kenya, and the Congo. I read on CNN where women are being abused in unspeakable ways as a tool of war in those far off places. There are 800,000 orphans in Burundi alone. I read these stories and my heart aches for them, and I think, what would Jesus think if he were here now?
As the church, we are charged with caring for the widows and orphans, and yet the numbers grow larger of those in need. Churches are trying to help. But as single, individual efforts, we accomplish little. It’s like trying to bail water with a bucket on the Titanic. I wonder sometimes what would happen if we could set aside our doctrinal differences, and be the hands and feet of Christ together to this dying world.
What if the church of Christ just stood up and said, “No more.” ?
And that’s just one issue… but until we all decide to step off the middle road and start cruising that narrow way, I don’t think we will ever be, as the church, what we could be. Each life radical. Each Christian a bonafide fanatic.
Inspiration comes quickly, and if we are not careful, it can wane quickly, too. I challenge you, the next time you are inspired to do something for the cause of Christ. Just do it. Quickly. Before rational, clear thinking takes over.
Okay, it’s time to go get the mail… and maybe I’ll just keep walking. Get that heart rate up. And while I’m walking, maybe I’ll ponder getting off the middle road, and staying off.