Journey into obscurity

(This blog is the wrong place to say this, but luckily there is a lot of talk around, which will ensure that this post will get lost in all the “noise”.)

There was a time when I wanted to be in the spotlight. I would sit in a church service and think that I knew enough to be “up there”. Although I was a cell leader and led some camps over the weekends, I knew that being “up there” was something totally different. “Up there” meant that people would listen to you and I mean really listen because you had authority. I knew this because, once in a small congregation, I said that I believe God is steering us towards discipleship. Nothing happened. But eight months later, when the person “up there” said he believed God is steering us towards discipleship, everybody jumped and discipleship became the in-thing. You had to have certain qualifications to be “up there”. Either you had to be theological qualified, or had to be a professional like a doctor/psychologist, or you have a charismatic personality, or you were musically gifted, or you were a success, or you had a miraculous breakthrough from God. The person “up there” was different. “Up there” is the ultimate of Christianity. I desperately wanted to be “up there”. I’ve felt that I had a contribution to make, more than the role we were seen in. (We take people into our home and care for them. Thus the assumption was made that we were carers. When you are a carer, you’re vocabulary is limited to caring and you have no voice outside your “gifting” range. Thing about our caring. We were not necessary carers. We did it because we believed that all we have is God’s and a lot of people needed a home. But that is another story.)

Anyway, then I met Jesus. He did not come to this earth as a king, or a great statesman, or a great philosopher or even a great politician. Born as the son of a carpenter. He came from a small town. He had a following of 12 disciples, but not one of them was famous. One or two could have been infamous. He did not have a home. He did miracles, but hushed it up. Sometimes He was in the spotlight, but for the wrong reasons. Sometimes crowds gathered to hear Him speak. But He offended them or He left. He did not build anything anybody could see. After He died on the cross the only evidence that showed He was on earth was the people He touched. No monument, no castle, no temple, no synagogue. He never used force. He did not have money. He was “God on earth” and yet He was never “up there”.

Suddenly it dawned on me. He came to show us what a godly life on earth looked like. And did He not say the kingdom was like yeast? The Spirit was like the wind. You could not really point and say “Here is the kingdom.” Or “there it is.” Visibility is not a sign of the kingdom. It is one of the reasons why we left the organized part of church. We began to stand out. Because we took people into our home, people would come and say “Oh what wonderful christians you are”. I cringed, because if they knew me, they would never say that to me. (During that time, I was angry with God…..a lot.)

Anyway, God came and set me free from the want-to-be-seen-life. Anette and I talked about it and we deliberately took the road where we could not be seen. On this road there are no expectations of us. We can give our lives away and nobody is around to compliment us. Our friends are all on the same road and they know I am a crappy christian. I cannot impress them. I can be free to love God and the people around me without an agenda.

I’m glad Jesus showed us the road that leads to obscurity. The less we’re seen, the better…or perhaps I should say, God is easily seen when we ain’t.

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5 thoughts on “Journey into obscurity

  1. I was “up there” and when you jump (I say jump because you don’t fall into sin))in a town of 20,000 with a wife and 4 children you suddenly wish you can’t be seen. This was over 15 years ago now but the shame and guilt I live with everyday. Celebrity has day when tax is due!!!

    I’m glad you are a crappy christian we have a lot in common, but 2 things I do well and that is I love God and I love my neighbour

  2. Yeah, I used to think being ‘up there’ was the only way – to be acknowledged, respected… People’s respect is not as important as it used to be (not unimportant, but no as important). I think the more we know Him and understand that He accepts us, the less that matters.

  3. Hi Mark R,
    I think it is terrible to be “up there” when it goes wrong. Somehow being “up there” puts you in a place where, when you fail, you have a target on your back and everybody is free to shoot. I have pastor friends and they can never be fully human and for that matter broken. 15 Years is a long time, too long. Our past is always with us, but more so is a timeless God who’s love is bigger than our shame and guilt.

    Hi Katherine,
    yes, I agree with you. I think I wanted acknowledgement more than respect, but the more I come to know Jesus the less I “need” acknowledgement and the respect. In the end, it is only He that matters.

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