Monthly Archives: February 2012
It used to kill me to watch tv at my grandparents house when I was a kid. They only had two channels and the good shows didn’t come on until after the news and “Hee Haw” were over. Hee Haw I could stand, but the news was absolute boredom for my elementary schooler’s mind. I used to think: “Why are these old people speaking toward the tv camera as though we are in the same room? And why do my old people (Grandma and Grandpa) sit so quietly, attentively, listening to what the other old guy is saying? What do I care if a people group from another country is at war with yet another country? It doesn’t matter to me if the weather’s going to be bad or good tomorrow; I’m going outside to play either way.”
So I sat, aching inside, waiting for this absolute frustration to finally be over. “The news is thirty minutes!?” I would think, “what is soooo important to take a whole thirty minutes of my life?” No matter how I complained or thought I was experiencing physical pain in waiting for the news to end, I could not beg or barter for the time to pass faster. In fact it seemed to slow down.
Fast-forward 25 years. High School, College, Marriage, College, Kids, College, Work, Bills, etc… Time is ironic isn’t it?
Now that I can appreciate more the moments spent sitting taking in information, watching the news or engaging in conversation, time seems so much less tangible. All I had was time when I was younger. Now it seems that we have to “TNT” a section of our schedule to make time for things that are way less trivial than what we spent time doing when we were younger. Busy, busy, busy… My alarm goes off around 5:30am; oodles earlier than when I was 16, and at the end of the day I can honestly say I don’t want to go to sleep because I cannot give up the day. My suspicion is that the saying “youth is wasted on the young” has something to do with older people’s understanding of time and appreciation along with physical vitality.
The irony is that while I was younger and had time to give to complaining about the audacity of the news creeping into my tv evening, I didn’t appreciate the time I had to burn. Now that I know the ticks of the clock represent a second less I have in my life, I feel remorse for opportunities missed both today and when I didn’t have a clue what “my time on earth” meant.
The scripture tells us, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” While this might not be the correct context of this verse, it reminds me that time spent well is life well lived. Or maybe put more simply, the irony of time is the less you have the more you appreciate it. And keep in mind that I am only 36.
We are doing the series in small groups called, “notafan” by Kyle Idleman. Groups through our church are meeting this week for the first installment of the series. Our meeting happened last night and I feel it went really well. Small groups are a great way to really get to know people, have some quality food, and connect through meaningful conversation.
The notafan study challenges the participants to gauge their level of committment to Jesus, “Are you Fan or a Follower?”. Idleman shares his conviction that Churches are filled with Christians who are fans or spectators instead of people who will give up everything (“deny oneself” Luke 9:23) for Jesus and follow Him. One of the coined phrases in the book and study is: “Completely, Committed, Follower”. From this came a question in group last night that I think is worthy of considering here.
Is it possible for followers of Christ to be completely committed? Is the bar that Idleman sets with Jesus’ words too high for followers to reach? Complete commitment? Idleman is clear in the book and study that perfection isn’t the goal. Jesus doesn’t expect perfection. No deity, who has any experience with humanity (particularly this human) could expect it, especially Jesus. Our less than perfect (the Bible calls it “evil”) nature is a chief reason Jesus came, died and rose.
So the question bounced around the room last night a few times. Is the bar Idleman sets with Luke 9:23 attainable? Completely, Committed, Follower.
The consensus in the group I think is explained pretty well by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10-14. Paul wants wholeheartedly to identify with Jesus, to know him intimately by understanding his sufferings and death; to know the power of resurrection. This is also a main theme in the notafan book and study; through dying to ourselves we find life. But then Paul continues by saying that he hasn’t obtained what he so desperately seeks. He doesn’t identify with Jesus completely, doesn’t know the measure of his sufferings and hasn’t experienced resurrection from death at that time. Paul explains that he is “in process” as he forgets what is behind and strains toward what is ahead. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul describes his life following Jesus as a road race he has been faithful to run.
I think the consensus from our group last night is that it takes complete commitment to get in the road race and stay on the road. No matter the pace (or skill, or finesse or non-perfection) of the runner or the stage of the race, the completely committed runners stay the course and finish. I think Idleman would agree. I think notafan calls all people who claim to love Jesus to get on the road and in the race; to follow the one that Paul was following. For that it truly takes a Completely, Committed, Follower.