I recently read an article that was gently criticizing our country's fascination with stardom and radicalism....and how that fascination has subtly infiltrated even the Christian world....("even"...that's funny, b/c basically everything invades the church sooner or later).
The writer brought up an excellent point. Why, if we as believers are not supposed to "let our right hand know what our left hand is doing" or vice versa, why are we so enthralled with writing, blogging, speaking, lifting ourselves up about the things we are doing for Christ...why do we spend so much time and energy trying to radically change the world through huge events, big deeds, dramatic foreign trips....?
In his post, “The New Legalism: Missional, Radical, Narcissistic, and Shamed,” Bradley writes,
“I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special. Today’s Millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don’t do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential. The sad result is that many young adults feel ashamed if they “settle” into ordinary jobs, get married early and start families, live in small towns, or as 1 Thess 4:11 says, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] affairs, and to work with [their] hands.” For too many Millennials their greatest fear in this life is being an ordinary person with a non-glamorous job, living in the suburbs, and having nothing spectacular to boast about.”
The ESV version says, "..But we urge you brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." I Thess 4:10b - 12
Wow...to live quietly, working with our own hands...what a concept in today's culture! Now, I'm all for people traveling, missions, great things happening with the gospel...totally! But a little part of me wonders if our focus has gotten derailed and in the glorious train wreck that has ensued, the specter of Christian "self" has arisen. There just seems to be a lot of self-promotion, self-adulation..self self self...going on in the believing community and I'm speaking to myself here as well! Trust me!
There are times in my life when I look at my ordinary day of laundry, breaking up squabbles, cleaning up cat barf (just this morning...before my cup of coffee, even), stretching the food budget (btw, has anyone noticed that LAST summer, steak was $5.99 a lb and THIS summer, it's $14.99 a lb?) and I think, "God, am I doing enough? Am I advancing your kingdom? B/c I'm pretty sure that Lord of the Rings marathon isn't improving my spiritual life here....that's definitely going in the wood, hay and stubble pile.
But really, what is enough? Do I have to pack my kids up and move to a foreign country to be seen as spiritual enough? (notice how I said, "TO BE SEEN") (aka "to be seen by people") Or is it that God sees the ordinary things...the unseen things....the moment of forgiveness that happens after a disagreement with a spouse....the shoulder you offer to your friend for her to cry on....the time that you listen...REALLY listen to a story your son tells you...Isn't God there, too? Isn't that radical?
Matthew 6: 1 - 4 sums up these thoughts beautifully...poetically....it cuts through the clutter, really:
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men, to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
But when you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing...(pretty un-radical, eh?) so that your giving will be done in secret ; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
I guess I'm writing this whole article to myself, really. So much of my life revolves around ME...what I want, what I feel, what I'M in the mood for....and I think that maybe God is gently stretching me to set myself aside and here I am writing about myself, but not to lift myself up, but to let you know my struggle against that sin nature that rears it's ugly head within me, whispering that my world should reflect me, my talents, what I've accomplished...but no.....there is One who is so much infinitely greater than me. One whose life my life should be constantly pointing towards. It is GOD who gets the glory...it is Christ who should be magnified. I decrease so that He can increase in my life.
John Piper writes: "Christ does NOT exist in order to make much of us. We exist in order to enjoy making much of Him. Christ is not glorious so that we get wealthy or healthy. Christ is glorious so that rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be satisfied in Him."
Doesn't that just thrill you to the tips of your toes? To be so satisfied with who we are in Christ, with Him, to be so sure of His sovereignty and magnificent orchestration of this world..... that it doesn't matter what happens around me, I am at rest in Him...Oh, to be at that place! I'm not there, but I want to be, so desperately!
God is in the ordinary things of your life, my friend. Enjoy Him and know that He commands us to just live for him. Shut out the cacophony of all of the talking heads and opinions and ads and movies and music...every one giving you their opinion on what you SHOULD be doing and how you are supposed to be living....in the quiet of your heart, you know that God's Word is true...and what He says is right and good.
"...do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing...."
"...done in secret...."
"...lead a quiet life..."
"...attend to your own business..."
"...work with your hands..."
"...love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength...love your neighbor as yourself."
If you allow the Holy Spirit to help you to do these things, you, and I have accomplished something un-blogworthy, something not worth mentioning..something not worth mentioning on the news or in a magazine or in Reader's Digest....certainly not book worthy!.....but.....
It just might be something radical in God's eyes.
P.S....topic coming soon....why do we have to repeat ourselves so much duri
© Copyright Cady Driver 2016 - All Rights Reserved
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane