Do We Matter?

I am a guy who still gets his newspaper delivered, partly because I want my dog to have a job (he has gotten the paper from the driveway since he was barely bigger than the Sunday edition), but also so I don’t rely on the internet for everything. Most days though, I will skip all the important news from around the world and go straight to the sports section. I tend to stick my head in the sand at times, not wanting to hear anything that might cause me to care. Because if I care, I might actually have to do something.

It’s easier to be lazy, to be someone my friends and family don’t look to when they are in pain or in need. It’s easier to be insignificant. The problem with being insignificant, though, is that you are insignificant. You don’t matter. You don’t make a difference. Physically and emotionally that may be easier, but psychologically it sucks, and spiritually it feels wrong.

You see, my life’s clock is running. Not that I feel I am getting old yet, but that there is less time. There is less time to do the things God means for me to do, the important things, the things that will make a difference, that will matter.

The clock is running. Sand is piling up in the bottom of our hourglass. Haven’t you noticed? The things that were so much fun ten years ago are not as much fun anymore. Fun itself isn’t as great as it used to be, and I have always been a guy who wanted to have fun. I have always been the guy who would make up games as soon as I got slightly bored. But we, all of us, are meant to be more, to matter more. We were placed here, wherever that may be, to make a difference. When will we start? The sand will not stop falling and it won’t fall upwards.

A.J.

I can turn a phrase and string some pretty words together but does that mean I know what I am talking about?

These are my qualifications for writing this blog:    I can build a fence.  I like beer.  I can crush a baseball.  I run a mean lawnmower.  When I bust my knuckles, I swear like a sailor.  That’s it.

Well, there is one thing….

I am simply an average joe; a pretty unremarkable guy.  I am not, nor have I ever been, a pastor, or associate pastor, or minister, or preacher of any kind.  I don’t live in a super nice neighborhood, and I have never owned a brand new vehicle in my life.  I am one of you.  No offense.

One thing I have noticed about average people, though; there is a lot of humility among our kind.  Don’t go getting a big head about it, though, there is a lot of pride among us too.  That is to be expected; we are only average.  But, living our average lives has given us a great gift: the knowledge that this life is not all about us.  The poor understand it best, the rich understand it least;  We are not the most important being in the universe.

The University of Hard Knocks is not the worst place to get your education.  People who have gone through their share of trials have a much better perspective on life.  They tend to have a better understanding of what is truly important.

Not that my life has been especially difficult, but I have gone through some trials. That has given me a better understanding of what matters in this life. Wisdom.  But, what qualifies me to speak to others about God is this:  The Spirit of The Living God lives in me.  How’s that for a reference?

 

Pride and Humility

 

I know something about pride.  My wagon tends to roll in that direction.  In fact, if pride were uphill and humility was downhill and you set my wagon in between them, my wagon would roll uphill–towards pride.  I’m even proud of that little analogy.

C.S. Lewis calls pride the Great Sin and says that it leads to all others, that it is the complete anti-God state of mind.  He says;

“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that—and, therefore know yourself as nothing in comparison—you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”

Without some measure of humility, people won’t give credit to the one who deserves it.  So many of us want the credit for ourselves or at least to deny credit to anyone else.  The proud don’t want to acknowledge that there could be anyone greater than themselves, even God.

In my experience those who think they have it all figured out, never figure it out, at least not until something knocks them off their high horse.  The arrogant don’t want to listen, they only want people to listen to them.  I know, I know, spoken by a man writing a book and a blog because he thinks his voice should be heard.  I recognize the irony.  I learn much when I write, though, because in my efforts to honor God with my pen, I have done a lot of studying and pondering of his word.  I don’t have it all figured out but I am listening for his voice.

Listening is the only way we learn anything.  Sure, we learn from observing, but that is just listening to the facts observed, if you follow me.  It is only when our minds (and hearts) are open that we can see the truth, and only those who are humble enough to admit to themselves that they don’t have all the answers have those open minds and hearts.

In the grand scheme of things, each of us are an infinitesimal spec on a planet that is an infinitesimal spec in a galaxy that is an infinitesimal spec in the universe.  If you want to know humility, start there.  Then, knowing that you are a piece of dust, listen and observe.  Knowledge will follow.  God will show you things that the proud cannot see, like how much God values a piece of dust.  Then, a new and awesome pride will grow in you.

A.J.

Life is Good

All my life I have been trying not to die.  That is the lie I told to begin a post a little while back.  Perhaps you remember; it is pinned to the top of my page right now.  The truth is, I spent a few years of my life trying to kill myself.

That’s right; I tried to throw myself in front of fast moving vehicles and farm machinery, tried to throw myself off cliff faces and tall buildings, ran full speed into a brick wall and even jumped into the deep end of the pool before I could swim.  But, no matter how hard I tried, my parents always thwarted my suicide attempts.

I jest, of course.  I was a clueless toddler who had no idea about death.  We were all that clueless toddler at one time, dependent on our parents to keep us from falling into the lion’s den.  Now, we are adults, right?  How much more do we know?  Sure, we look both ways when we cross the street, but do we have a clear understanding of the value of our lives?  Do we realize the immensity of the gift?  We were nothing.  Less than that–when you think about it.  You can’t even use the word “were” to describe our lack of being.  We weren’t.  Even that doesn’t work.

Out of that void God brought us into existence and gave us life with the ability to understand that we exist and to know Him who made that happen.  Most of us were gifted with fully functioning minds and bodies with the capability to experience the amazing world we live in.  Even better, we are gifted with the chance to love the people around us and be loved by them, most of us.  Best of all, we have been given the knowledge and opportunity to know that the one who created us loves us and we are allowed the choice to love him in return…or reject him.

To top it all off–the gift of this life and the gifts in this life are only the beginning! Because; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

All those gifts and so much more bundled in the One Indescribable Gift Of Life.  How can we not want to know him, and love him?

A.J.

 

 

 

 

 

God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility…this is for God the ground of unfathomable love.      Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Toll Free

Christianity stands apart from all other “religions” in that God himself did the work that closed the gap between him and us. We couldn’t build the bridge so he did–and there is no toll.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”Eph 2:8-9