I particularly love the following words by David Platt:
…..I invite you simply to let your heart be gripped, maybe for the first time, by the biblical prospect that God has designed a radically global purpose for your life….I invite you to throw aside the gospel-less reasoning that might prevent you from accomplishing that purpose. I invite you to consider with me what it would mean for all of us – pastors and church members, businessmen and businesswomen, lawyers and doctors, consultants and construction workers, teachers and students, on-the-go professionals and stay-at-home moms – to spend all of our lives for the sake of all God’s glory in all the world…..It sounds idealistic, I know. Impact the world. But doesn’t it also sound biblical? God has created us to accomplish a radically global, supremely God-exalting purpose with our lives. The formal definition of impact is “a forcible contact between two things,” and God has designed our lives for a collision course with the world.
My friends, if these words indeed seem idealistic to you, I submit the following for your consideration. You may have unwittingly imbibed too deeply the world’s value system. You may have bought, hook, line and sinker, our culture’s definition of what is realistic and what is pie-in-the-sky, dream-in-your-eye fantasy.
The fact is my friend, when Christ entered the scene all those years ago in the Holy Land, he set about turning the existing status quo on its head. What the world considered realistic, practical, and the right way to do things largely went out the window in Christ’s teaching. In the collection of teachings known to us as the “Sermon on the Mount,” the Master often prefaced his remarks by saying, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.” Again, I submit to you that if you think that God’s call on your life – the call to give your all for God’s all – is too idealistic, perhaps the stain of our culture’s reasoning, no matter how sacred, hallowed, or closely held, has gone far too deeply into your being.
At some point we all are faced with a choice: do we accept the beliefs and values of our culture, or do we follow the teachings of the Master, even if they sound like an idealistic dream?
I conclude with these words from the great scholar Houston Smith. I encourage you to reflect deeply on what these words say to you:
…we have heard Jesus’ teachings so often that their edges have been worn smooth, dulling their glaring subversiveness. If we could recover their original impact, we too would be startled. Their beauty would not paper over the fact that they are “hard sayings,” presenting a scheme of values so counter to the usual as to shake us like the seismic collision of tectonic plates…We are told that we are not to resist evil but to turn the other cheek. The world assumes that evil must be resisted by every means available. We are told to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. The world assumes that friends are to be loved and enemies hated. We are told that the sun rises on the just and the unjust alike. The world considers this to be indiscriminating; it would like to see dark clouds withholding sunshine from evil people. We are told that outcasts and harlots enter the kingdom of God before many who are perfunctorily righteous. Unfair, we protest; respectable people should head the procession. We are told that the gate to salvation is narrow. The world would prefer it to be wide. We are told to be as carefree as birds and flowers. The world counsels prudence. We are told that it is more difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom than for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye. The world honors wealth. We are told that the happy people are those who are meek, who weep, who are merciful and pure in heart. The world assumes that it is the rich, the powerful, and the wellborn who should be happy. In all, a wind of freedom blows through these teachings that frightens the world and makes us want to deflect their effect by postponement – not yet, not yet! H.G. Wells was evidently right: either there was something mad about this man, or our hearts are still too small for his message.
Personally, I find these words by Houston Smith to be very insightful and I have published them here on LifeBrook on several occasions. I know that when I examine my life in light of Jesus’ teachings, particularly his harder teachings, I find myself woefully inadequate. Yet I don’t react to this with any sense of morbid guilt or self-flagellation. I don’t think that is what the Master would want, nor do I think it is particularly productive. Instead, I use these words as positive motivation to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, become a better person – a person who more consistently lives from the Inner Light and reflects Jesus in thought, word, and deed.
© L.D. Turner 2011/All Rights Reserved