Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Once I thought I was hot stuff...

Photo:  1992, when I was really cool, more or less.

Once upon a time, I thought I was hot stuff. This February marks my 20th anniversary of following Jesus. This past Sunday, our pastor emphasized some points about maturity from the New Testament Book of Matthew chapter 12, where Jesus eats grain on the Sabbath, heals on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees miss the whole point.

The most relevant application quote from the sermon is "It is not what you know, but knowing what's important." Here's how this quote plays out in my life.

1990:  I came to believe that God existed and learned about trusting Jesus. I learned a lot, early, and it served me well. The particular faith tradition I wanted to join didn't quite match up with the Bible. It was necessary to research and understand the person and work of Jesus, His relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit, our relationship to the Godhead, and how God speaks through the Bible and how we reply in prayer. Research, discussion, debating anyone from clergy to (soon to be former) friends, and I felt confident in my understanding. One critic called me "J. C., God's other son."

So I made sure everybody knew how smart I was.

Two decades later, it remains vital to have good doctrine, but more vital to apply it correctly. In 1992 I could leave a church over points of doctrine because I'm smarter than they and so there, but in 1995 I have a wife to lead. Wasn't easy, but we left one church for another and that was wise. Now I'm grown up with responsibility: Three 3 children, various leadership roles at work and church, and I still think I'm smarter than the system. Too bad what worked before didn't work again. We switched churches a couple of years ago because I lost confidence in the leadership and the move didn't go well. Less than a year later, back where we belong. Let's hear it for me.

More than ever before, a call to wise decision making, practical application of truth, and humble influence. Or, as our family mission statement says, "...to discover, nurture, and fulfill God's plan and will..."

As I celebrate 20 years of fellowship with God, my biggest change is from a hunter and gatherer of God Facts to (hopefully) a wiser application of God's love, mercy, and yes, truth. For those of you who know me and read this saying, "yeah, right..." let it be our prayer that "It is not what you know, but knowing what's important."

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