Monday, August 22, 2011

Being Mediocre for God

So I’m guessing there’s already more than one person reading right now (if there’s more than one person who reads this blog) who are questioning the validity of the above title.  I definitely question it myself from time to time, but I would stand by this like William Tell’s son stood under that apple if I thought it got me anywhere.  I mean, the idea is so ludicrous I felt like it had to come from God, because otherwise where in the world would this ever be acceptable?  (Of course, the moment I start promoting infant cannibalism I hope someone calls me on it, because that would be one area of crazy I’m pretty sure God frowns upon.  But I digress.)

I feel like this is one of the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn…which I guess I could say about every lesson which sucks (but is, in the end, God glorifying and totally worth it), but I wanted to close out my summer with a final word to all my friends in the big C-O, and share what I’ve been wrestling with since I cared about anything.  I hope you will stick with my premise until the end, but you people already know I’m a little crazy, so I’m guessing there’s been no surprises so far.  The crazier the better, I say.

So what does this idea mean?  And why would it be applicable…and why would I write a farewell letter like this?  And where in the world is Carmen San Diego?!  So many questions. 

Well before I completely divulge the secret as to why God would ever call me to be mediocre, I also have to say this.  I hate accolades.  Yeah.  You heard me.  I hate accolades because I am a proud person.  And I also love God with the type of intensity that scares people.  I love Him because of who He is.  There is nothing else.  I bought the field because I wanted the treasure (hint: treasure=Jesus Christ.)  He is...everything.  

But you get it I hope; there’s nothing else I’ve been more excited about and nothing else I will ever desire more than Him (at least this is always my prayer.) 

So what does that have to do with accolades—also known as approbation, commendation, laudation, ovation, and kudos?  (Thank you thesaurus.)  Or more to the point, what does that have to do with being average for Jesus?  Well I’m glad you asked.

I am nothing.

God is everything.

Get it?  No?  An accolade or “atta boy,” coming from anyone other than God, is worthless to me when I’m following Him.  Now this isn’t to say that certain exhortations are bad, in fact they could be a blessing from the Father, but if they don’t ultimately credit the one who is worthy of ALL CREDIT, they are worthless and possibly even sinful.  I want to make it clear then, that I deserve no credit for what happens because I was somewhere, doing something, with someone…you fill in the blank.  At least if it was truly good.  I want to avoid taking credit for that which God put in me to do, and gave the ability and wisdom or foolishness to accomplish in His name, because I cannot take the place of Him.  I am not a god.  Now I know some people are laughing right now and saying “haw haw (you sound like a donkey in my imagined scenario), we could have told you that Chase.”  And you’d be more than right, but it is easy to sit back when things go right and think “damn I’m good.”  Or maybe that just happens to me, but I’d be willing to bet my right upper incisor that I’m not the only one who thinks too highly of him/herself.

So back to mediocrity, and why it is important.  Understand that I am not saying you, as a follower of Christ (if you are one), should be “luke warm” (and if you grew up in church you know what I’m talking about.)  I’m saying that as a follower of Christ, you have to accept that people will almost always look at you as being mediocre, and in many cases less so.  And this is good.  Why? Let’s consult the Good Book.

2And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    5"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
    6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
    7"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
    8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
    9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
    10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    11"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Who’s blessed here?  Does it say “blessed are the intrepid, for they shall conquer and enslave the earth?”  Or “blessed are the hippies, who will bring peace and love because of their laid back righteousness?”  Or maybe “blessed are the [insert political affiliation here], for they shall bring wealth among the nations?”  God you forgot some beatitudes.

Jesus says “blessed are the poor in spirit (little “s”)” because he knew the heart of man.  Men love religion and politics because it’s a way to get them where they want to be.  Nobody, including me, initially enjoy being poor.  No one wants to hear (or tell people for that matter) that if they’ll only become as a slave to God, then suddenly everything will get better in the form of people abusing and taking advantage of their weak disposition.  That doesn’t draw a crowd, so we almost never hear it.  But this is what I want to tell everyone in case I don’t see you again (and I’m applying that statement to the afterlife.)

Following God is worth it.  Don’t get distracted by the good things of life, because they will, and currently are, passing away.  Don’t desire money, power, health, fame, Cheetos, or even the ambition to shine like a star for God.  If you love God, he will shine through you, and you’ll never have to worry about that again.  Don’t desire the accolades and approval of others, or take satisfaction in anything other than the one who can fulfill the desire to be known, because everything else is dying.  You are dying.  

Learn to find approval in Him.  Achieve mediocrity.