Sunday, July 17, 2011

Get a little crazy!

crazy-insane, foolish, overly enthusiastic

I've been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan for the past few months now.

With our recent move, I haven't had much time to read anything. But, as we have settled in and things have begun to slow down a bit, I have made some "me" time, found a nice cozy spot on the couch and resumed my reading.

The book has been absolutely phenomenal!

I suggest that you go to the link.

Buy a book.

Heck...by two or three. Give them to your friends.

They will thank you.

I am wrapping up the book and regret that it is coming to an end.

A good book will do that to you.

It has caused me to stop and think on many occasions.

One passage in particular, that I just read a few days ago, has been on my mind each day since.

It was one of those things that just stay with you, that you can't shake off even if you tried.

I took this passage and prayed on it.

I used it on my children.

I shared it with a friend.

I think about it all the time.

Here it is:

In Matthew 25 we get a frightening picture of the coming judgment. In this passage, Christ condemns people to eternal punishment because they did not care for Him during their lives on earth. "I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." (vv.42-43)

The condemned protest, saying they never saw Christ in any of these positions in need, and Jesus responds, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (v.45)

Ouch.
To me that is like a stinging, unexpected slap in the face. Like many of you, I've heard that passage taught on numerous occasions. I've left convicted, but haven't taken it literally. We see it as a fresh perspective on poverty rather than a literal picture of impending judgment.

This is where it got me...

How would my life change if I actually thought of each person I came in contact with as Christ--the person driving painfully slow in front of me, the checker at the grocery store who seems more interested in chatting than ringing up my items, the member of my own family with whom I can't seem to have a conversation and not get annoyed?

If we believe that, as Jesus said, the two greatest commands are to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind" and to "love your neighbor as yourself," then this passage has a lot to teach us. Basically, Christ is connecting the command to "love God" with the command to "love your neighbor."
By loving "the least of these", we are loving God Himself.

At the beginning of this blog, I wrote the definition of crazy. Loving God and following His commandments, is a crazy thing to do...in the world we live in today.

People seem to think it's crazy to follow God and live a radically changed life for Him.

To love as He loves.

It's crazy, insane, and sometimes considered foolish to love someone, or show kindness to them, when they have done you wrong.

When they have hurt you.

When they have turned their back on you on more than one occassion.

When they have talked bad about you.

It's just crazy...right?

It's just crazy to look at the homeless person on the side of the road, pushing their grocery cart filled with what we consider junk, looking all dirty, untouchable, ...and see them as just a person like us, struggling in this world to find love and acceptance.

Would it be crazy if we would say a prayer for them, give them a bottled water we have sitting on the floor board of our car, or a warm blanket...instead of applying our judgment and wondering what drug they are strung out on?

Would it be crazy to call up that family member who we do not speak to or have anything in common with, instead of our best buds who we love to laugh and play games with, over for dinner or just a small visit?

Would it be crazy to say or ask yourself, "what can I do for him or her," or "what can I do for you? How can I help you?", instead of, "Huh, what have they ever done for me?" or "That's their problem, not mine."

Would it be crazy to walk over to your neighbor's house and offer to cut his grass, instead of complaining because it is too long and it makes the neighborhood look bad?

Would it be crazy to pray for our enemies, or talk to them, perhaps making ammends...instead of talk about them and run their name through the mud?

Would it be crazy to just show love the way that we want to be loved?

Would it be crazy to laugh along with, or carry on a conversation with the cashier, who is talking to us, and annoying us as we try to rush out of the store on our way home to cook supper for the kids, instead of giving her a dirty look or a crude comment on our way out and continuing it by sharing our horrible "cashier moment" with all our friends on the phone on our ride home?

Would it be crazy, insane, or foolish to not start or continue an argument with our spouse as soon as we greet them at the end of the day, like we always do, instead of just keeping our mouth closed and choosing not to fight, not to argue, but to listen and love?

Would it be crazy to volunteer our time to help our child's teacher, who is struggling to teach our child plus 22 other children each day, instead of criticising her on how much homework she sends home or that she forgot to put our child's sticker on their conduct sheet that day?

Would it be crazy to stop saying how "busy" we are to our friends and family, and actually skip out on our manicure, our shopping trip or our favorite tv show that day, and actually go visit them instead?

Would it be crazy to be patient, understanding and sweet to the girl waitressing for the first time at her new job at Pizza Hut, instead of complaining that your drinks were late, your order was wrong and leave her a 60 cent tip as a comical insult?

Would it be crazy to smile at the person in front of you in line at the movie theater or strike up a conversation with them while you wait, instead of giving them a "stank" face, a dead emotionless stare or avoid eye contact all together?

Would it be crazy to think of everyone that we come in contact with, as though they were Christ Himself standing before us?

Would all of that be crazy?

Would it be insanely foolish?

Yes!

But, believe it or not, God calls us to be crazy.

I must admit, I have fallen into the lie that I'd rather not be considered crazy to the world, than to live crazy for God.

I have forgotten when I see a stranger, or are angry with someone who rejects me as I am, that Jesus Christ died for them also. He is not a respector of persons. And what He has done for me and in my life, He will do and has done for the single mom struggling with three kids, the girl working at Pizza Hut, my neighbor living next door, the man pushing the cart looking for a warm spot to lay his head at night, or the lady at the bank who is taking too long to cash my check. I have somehow put Him in a box, closed it up and written my name on it, saying He is all mine for the keeping, and can't be shared.

God can not be contained or placed in a box.

He is for everyone!

So...
We can either live according to what the world says we should...or what God has created us to.

It will cause us to step out of our normal comfortable places.

Our comfort zones will cease to have walls.

We will be free to love.

He is calling us to be "overly enthusiastic" about Him.

About loving Him.

And in doing that, we have to be "crazy" about one another.

Crazy in love with the idea of sharing His love with one another.

God's love...
It's a Crazy kind of Love!

Dare to embrace it!

Allow it to move through you!

Let it consume you!

Get a little crazy!

I John 3:16-20
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.

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