My husband and I have been blessed with five, fabulous children. They are each unique, amazingly talented, gifted, and special in hundreds of ways. They challenge us, frustrate us, bewilder us, drive us crazy, and touch our hearts in ways that no one else ever could. They show us Jesus and teach us lessons that we could never learn otherwise.
Sometimes, some of the things we hear our children say strike us in such a way that it’s as if the Spirit of God was speaking straight to us through them. Yesterday after church was one such time. We had just come from a fantastic time of worship and teaching with our local body and my eight year old had some thoughts that God had been speaking to him about. What follows are his words, straight from his heart. (shared with his permission)
You know what just smashed me (ie: wrecked my heart) this morning, Mom? When Pastor Tim said (gave a quote) that there was that guy that wanted to know about Jesus from a Christian, but no Christians would tell him about Jesus. It smashed me, mom.
Because that’s the only reason we are even here (on earth). God gave us this one job to tell people about Jesus. Nothing else matters. Like nothing.
We think it’s so important to play American Girl dolls (yes, he was poking at his sisters a bit), or Barbies (and a little more….), or even play video games, or eat as much as we can. But none of it matters. God gave us one job to do, just one.
I just want people to know Jesus, Mom, ‘cause it’s the only thing that matters.
Hey, Mom? Can we go to Freddy’s for lunch? 🙂
This glimpse into what God was doing in my son’s heart “smashed” my own heart. What he said was dead on – we do put so much focus on all of the “other stuff”, even when it’s good stuff.
We go crazy over meal planning, or budgeting, or what clothes our kids are wearing. We decorate our houses and stress out about how we are going to handle problem “X” or person “Y”. Even when the “stuff” is truly something good within the church, we have a tendency to err on the side of “freak out” and “focus on the issue” rather than the calling. We obsess over curriculum and presentations and appearances and what people are thinking and how they are responding or not responding. We nit-pick over theology or translations or worship songs or the people in the pews around us. We fret about ridiculous stuff, when what really matters is just one thing…
”Love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” I Timothy 1:5
Paul gives this charge to Timothy, who was the head pastor of a re-developing church on the island of Crete. At that time, there was a lot of misguided focus going on inside the church as well as in the community. Not surprisingly, it looked a lot like our churches and communities today.
In his letter, Paul pleads with Timothy to show the believers in his church how they were choosing to elevate the stuff that didn’t matter over the one thing that actually did matter. They were doing crazy things like endlessly discussing theological issues that weren’t relevant to salvation. They were focused on the little things that puffed up their own “knowledge”, but actually proved that they knew nothing about what really mattered to the heart of God.
By shifting their focus off of just loving people and showing them Jesus, Paul says that the people in Timothy’s church at Crete had basically wandered away into left field, made themselves look foolish, harmed the body, and had become ineffective in their ministry.
The same is true for us.
When we lose sight of loving people like Jesus loves us, we’ve missed the boat entirely.
When we care more about what translation of the Bible we use, or whether we drink alcohol or abstain, what church we attend, what clothes we wear, what neighborhood we live in, whether we smoke or have a tattoo, what music style we listen to, or even what we think about the end times, we are in the same “danger zone” Paul warned the church in Crete about.
We are swinging away in left field,
all caught up in the crazy stuff,
and we’ve rendered ourselves ineffective for Christ.
Should we care about making meals, decorating our homes, having neatly clothed children, well-run churches, and programs that reach into the neighborhoods? Of Course!! But, like Paul warns, “The goal of this charge is love.”
When we make the love of Jesus the foundation, when we put the Gospel at the center of everything we do, everything else falls beautifully into place. When we’re focused on really loving our kids, our spouses, the students at our Sunday School tables, the adults in our small groups, the neighbors on our streets, all the “crazy stuff” will fade away and not even come across our radar.
If this warning was so important that Paul wrote a whole letter focused around it, then I’m guessing that you and I need to have our hearts “smashed” by these words too. Like my son said, “God gave us one job to do, just one.”
Let’s get to it!