I often wonder about all the startling realizations that we will have once we get to Heaven. The misconceptions that will be revealed. The quantum shift in our value system that once held temporal things in such high esteem. And I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that we Baptists will be dead wrong on more than a few issues, although I would never reveal what I think they might be, this side of Heaven.
One of those realizations, I believe, will be that we made the Christian life entirely too complicated. Everything in life is too complicated. The government makes it mind-bogglingly complicated to start and run a business. I have two small–very small–corporations. And between federal, state, and local taxes and regulations, it’s so complicated I have no idea if I’m being compliant in every area. I try to be. But even with lawyers and CPAs, it’s still all too consuming to try to keep up with everything.
Christian leadership experts are just as bad. I read a book in seminary once that contained pie charts dividing up the 24-hour day into the various tasks that pastors do. One pie chart showed the typical pastor’s day, and one showed the ideal pastor’s day. It was one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen. I’m a fairly disciplined person, but my day looked much more like the typical pastor than the ideal one. Yet there it was in black and white–the ideal schedule. And it was undeniable that, if you followed the chart, sure enough, there apparently was enough time in a 24-hour day to do everything that the Christian world expected of you: Scripture memorization, evangelism, sermon prep, family time, exercise, visiting the sick, and on and on–even eight hours of sleep. Somehow they squeezed it all in. It made me feel like a failure. Where was all my time leaking away? I just wasn’t doing enough of the right things.
Ah, there’s that word doing. But remember the theme of this blog:
Focus on knowing God, and the doing will take care of itself.
So I take you back to the archives of my Prayer Journal for some thoughts that were inspired by a friend and former fellow minister at Bellevue, Mark Gates. He shared with me a thought God had given him during his quiet time: The idea is that the Christian life is not so complicated. All you have to do is listen to and obey Jesus as He says,
He will never lead us to a bad place. So SIMPLIFY your Christian walk. Just follow Him. Don’t worry about anything else. Just follow Him.
Here’s what God told me one day:
…Even when I lead places you don’t want to go.
…Even when others seem to get more than their just due.
…Even when it’s dark, especially when it’s dark.
…Even when you have your own direction.
…Even when the waves are crashing.
…Even when it’s hard not to look down and around.
…And I will make you to become fishers of men.
…And leave all else behind.
…And take up your cross; die to self.
…And bring a friend with you.
…And serve Me.
…And I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.
Just follow Me.