A while back, we were watching an episode of “The Berenstein Bears”. It was an episode full of irony, as the focus was on Mama Bear asking the family to not watch anything on their television for an amount of time. They were forced to do creative things, read, explore, imagine, and play pretend. In fact, the one who seemed to struggle with it most was Papa Bear. My heart went out to him, as Mama Bear had horrible timing….it was HOCKEY PLAYOFFS! He handled it much better than I may have. 🙂
One of the first games the kids decided to play, was to create a television out of cardboard. Catching the irony here? As we sat and laughed at the scene, my mind was (is) always wandering in the land of “How can this speak to our faith journey?”, and this one smacked us right in the Savior.
How often do we find ourselves living for “success” with Jesus in the same way the world lives for “success”? A 12-step program, a “next level” or “title” we seek to attain, the “blessings” of money and influence, the nebulous emotion known as “happiness” at the center of all we seek, etc.
Because the truth is, God didn’t send His son to earth, have Him die, and experience the resurrection ahead of all things – simply to have us build another television set. These things have all happened to completely trash the idea and concept of “television set faith”. (hoping what’s in my brain is coming out in words here) Life is not a Mad Lib where God has erased the blanks, only to fill in the words with “Jesus”, “Christian”, and “Love”.
No, what has happened here is much more dramatic and transformational. Jesus Christ HAS BEEN declared Lord over all things. We have been given the opportunity and resource to live as transformed citizens, declaring His Lordship. Not in way that seeks to maximize marketing potential, and makes sure the word “Christian” always has above an 80% approval rating and plenty in savings. But in a way that loves all people/God’s creation sacrificially. That puts others needs before our own. That lives in such a way that the world looks at us and scratches their head, saying “These people do not make sense. You can’t continue down that road and survive financially or relationally.”
God has not called us to unplug from the world and create a God-sourced version of the same worldly pursuits. God calls us to be completely reborn as New Creations, and citizens of His Kingdom. What does that look like? Check the Beatitudes for a pretty good start…:) They’re in Matthew chapter 5..