Many are the times I've asked God to bless my messes.
|Am I Strange Enough?
(or Nut Case for Jesus)
by Marilyn Mackenzie
Not long ago, someone called me a "nut case for Jesus." It wasn't mean as a compliment, but as a jab or "put down." It hurt, but I was more sorry for the person who made the comment. Her other comments were: "You can't possibly think God is going to help you with all of your decisions. Just take action and I'm sure God will bless them."
While I certainly know that God can take my bad decisions and make some good of them (it does say that in the Bible!), I can also look back at my life and know exactly when I prayed diligently before taking action. And I can look back and see the times when I just forged ahead without talking with God first. Many are the times I've asked God to bless my messes. There is a big difference!
I thought about being a "nut case for Jesus" for a few days. The following Sunday, we had a guest speaker at our church. The title of his sermon was "Are You Ready to be Committed With Jesus?" Notice that it said "with Jesus" and not "to Jesus". Our speaker reminded us that many thought Jesus was absolutely crazy to be claiming to be the Son of God. They thought him insane to be associating with prostitutes and tax collectors, instead of religious leaders. And our speaker told us that if we are trying to walk in His footsteps, that the rest of the world should think us odd or crazy as well. Hmmm. Perhaps being a "nut case for Jesus" isn't so bad after all. Am I ready to be "Committed with Jesus?"
The following day, Monday, I received an e-mail devotional with the same topic. (Put out by www.thewordtoday.com) Here's a portion of it:
"Not everybody will understand you; they're not supposed to. Don't waste the only life you'll ever have by trying to win the acceptance of people who don't appreciate your integrity, or discern your worth. Love them, pray for them, and move on. Jesus said, 'A servant is not greater than his master. If people did wrong to me they will do wrong to you too.' (John 15:20 ncv) Any time you have to give up being what God made you to be, in order to be accepted, the price is too high. Walk away. Why? Because, in the final analysis, you'll be judged by one standard only: what God called you to be, not what others want you to be!"
The world is a pretty strange place right now. People seem to think that nudity and foul language are normal, that sex in movies and TV shows shouldn't offend us, that cheating is okay as long as one isn't caught.
My 17 year old son and I participated in the last "turn off your TV week", and as we sat in the living room reading, he suddenly said, "You know I really dislike baby-boomers." Since I'm a part of that generation, of course I wanted to know his reason for suddenly making such an announcement. My son explained that he truly blamed my generation for the way the U.S. has turned out.
At such a young age, my son has some of the same thoughts about truth and what's right and wrong with this world as does the youth speaker and author Josh McDowell. He's seen adults around him lie about being available for telephone calls, then turn around and be angry with their kids about lying. He's heard jokes about people cheating on their income taxes - the same people who wonder why their kids cheat in school. He thinks it's no wonder that teens are killing each other in school, for no one has really taught them to value each other or has tried to stop them from being cruel to each other.
Although my son is struggling with his own faith right now, he knows that the Ten Commandments are a wonderful foundation for living. He knows that the Golden Rule is something that should have been passed on to his generation. He really feels that people my age have let the kids down by not taking a stand to see that they were taught good moral behavior. And he thinks we've been too concerned with acquiring things than taking care of our families.
He was quick to add that his generalizations about being disappointed with baby-boomers don't necessarily include me. As a junior high kid he didn't like being home schooled and was certain that if he ever had children of his own that they would attend public school. Now that he has graduated from high school, his thoughts on that have changed. Now he believes that if he ever has children he will definitely want them to be home schooled or "unschooled" so that he can make sure they are grounded properly.
And as we each went back to our reading that night, I had to wonder, "Am I being strange enough? Am I ready to be committed with Jesus? Does it show that I'm a follower of Jesus?" I hope and pray that it does.
Not long after I sent the above message out to friends and relatives, my mom wrote to me about something that her pastor said during his Sunday sermon. Someone had called the pastor a nut case for Jesus too. His response was, "Yes, but I'm screwed to the right bolt"! Good answer.