Often the people that impress us the most are the one’s we only know from a distance. The real beauty and wonder is when we get close. When we get close enough to see all their scars, shortcomings, and annoyances and still love them anyway. Now that’s impressive.
Jesus tells this amazing parable of a dad that told his two sons to go out and get some work done on the farm, the older son answered “No way pops” only later to change his mind and go and do the work.
The dad also told the younger son to go get some work done, this young man uses his manners and replies “Yes Sir” then proceeds to play Nintendo all day. (Emphasis mine lol).
Jesus then ask the people…. who obeyed?
The people reply. The first boy of course.
Jesus explains…. I tell you the truth corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you. (FYI – the story is directed to religions leaders of the day).
I am totally convinced that when we get to heaven we will be blown away at the people that are there…… WHAT you made it!!!!
Then again we may also be totally blown away by who is not there…….
Our culture and society tries its best to tell us what is hot, new, hip, what we should like, what we should eat, what clothes to wear, what cars to drive, what homes to live in, what music is the best, what it means to fit in, to find acceptance…… the list goes on.
Problem is this. I find (along with many others) that I care less about whats new, whats hot, or what I’m suppose to like.
I don’t like Filet Mignon, red sports cars, or wearing ties.
I don’t like pepperoni on my pizza.
I don’t like saying or hearing long prayers before dinner time.
I only watch football once a year (Superbowl) and have no idea what team I’m suppose to like.
I love blue jeans and a plain white v-neck T-shirts. Board shorts and flip flops.
I love praying when I’m out in the ocean surfing.
I love getting packages in the mail (its like Christmas)!! I’ll order something online just so I can get a package, wait for the UPS, and open it as if it’s a surprise ….. every time.
I love going to church and not having to pretend to be something I am not. I am not perfect. I am me.
Are you —You? Or are you the version of you that society, culture, or other Christians have told you what your suppose to be?
Truth is its “Being yourself” is getting harder and harder. Some of us have wore the mask of cultural correctness for so long that who we are is but a distant memory. A forgotten album of a time long long ago.
…..and yet there are moments when we get glimpses of who we really are.
Rich Mullins in the film Ragamuffin says this:
“If you’re half as cultured and refined as most Christians wish you were, He [Jesus] would be useless to Christianity.”
I came across this letter that was written in to Mike Rowe from the TV show Dirty Jobs and thought it was a great read. Here is the letter and his response back.
I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!
My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.
I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.
“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?” “How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.” “Not my type.” “Really? How do you know?” “I just know.” “Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.” “Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!” “Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?” “What? Leave San Francisco? Never!” “How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?” She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”
Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!
I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?
Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”
These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…
Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs. Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.
Good luck - Mike
PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.
PPS Think I should forward this to Claire?
He is anything but predictable.
To some He would say go and to others He would say stay put.
The crowds got bigger – He left.
He told stories that people didn’t understand.
He slept during storms and prayed while others slept.
He was a king – born in a stable.
He feed an insurmountable number of people with an inconsiderable amount of food.
His team was composed of outcast.
His appearance was all to common – so much so that He had to be pointed out with a kiss from Judas.
People tried to crown Him with gold – He slipped out the back and took a crown of thorns.
He touched lepers, washed feet at dinner, and welcomed sinners.
He is the Lion.
He is the Lamb.
He is anything but predictable.
We love the idea of Jesus. Think about it.
There is a God who loves us, He cares for us, lived for us, died for us, and is always ready to welcome us into His arms.
Who wouldn’t love this God – after all it doesn’t get much better then that! Not to mention the forgiveness of sins!!
This idea of God is like taking a Oreo and licking out the cream because that’s the part we like the best. We forget that this same God is the God that calls us to follow Him (sometimes to places we don’t want to go), to put our faith and trust in Him. To step out the boat and walk on the water. The God that says leave all to follow me…..
To often we love the idea of God more than God.
….. but its a whole package deal we don’t get to pick and choose the parts we like.
“We live in a time when there is much in the window but nothing in the room. – DL”
Where the appearance is more important than the substance. We choose our cars based on popularity, (never mind how they actually ride). We choose are beverage based on TV commercials, (Never mind how they actually taste). We choose our jobs based on money, (Never mind if we actually enjoy our work). We choose our churches based on preference (Never mind if God is actually there).
We choose not our own dreams but the dreams of others.
We live with much in the window but nothing in the room.
I heard a story once about a Grandpa;
One day Grandpa decided to nap on the couch, his grandson decided to play a trick on him and spread some stinky cheese on his mustache. When he woke he commented
“this couch stinks”
he walked into the kitchen, this kitchen stinks;
he walked outside, the whole world stinks!
-It’s easy to see (and smell) the problems in the world around us, it’s harder to take a good look at ourselves. But maybe that’s exactly what we need.
Change starts with one. Me.
-Lord help me to get the cheese off my lip.