When You Decide You’re Not a Goat

Ever feel like you’re still in high school?

Remember how there was a cool crowd and an out crowd? Remember trying to find a seat in the lunchroom or surviving the bus ride home?

Ever feel as though, while your body ages, inside you’re still a scared and awkward adolescent just praying you won’t make a total fool of yourself and that somewhere out there you’ll find a small group of people who will agree to be your friends?

Oh, yeah, me neither. I was just sayin’, you know?

But, if you did feel like that, you know, just suppose, then imagine the strain of following Jesus – I mean, really following Him.

He’s pretty out there.

And following Him means being out there, too.

It would be one thing if the kingdom of God was all stained glass, rituals, and beautiful music performed in a Sunday venue. And some people try to make it that. They always have. The prophet Ezekiel, speaking for God, called people out on this practice:

“As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.” Ezekiel 33:30-32

Even before MTV, it was our bent to watch Jesus as if He was performance art. To applaud Him for His amazing works and then to sit back and asked to be blessed but not to wonder if we should join Him on stage. That’s work, man. That’s risk, exposure, ridicule, dedication, hours practicing when no one hears.

So much happier here in the audience watching. “Waiter, bring us another round.”

Jesus called us out on it directly in Matthew 11:16-17

“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’”

WE are important. The crowd. The gang. The populace. The polls. The masses. The majority. WE rule.

Don’t go out there alone, man. It’s not safe.

Dude, seriously, what are you doing? You can’t make it alone.

You need us, our friendship, our approval, our protection, our collective thinking.

Jesus, man, He’s okay to visit but you LIVE with us.

If you go after Him, we can’t help you, man. We won’t be there.

Do you even know anything about Him? I mean, where does He hang?

Have you even listened to Him? Some of the stuff He says is WAY not cool. I mean, the love stuff is great and He’s got some good bands but seriously, sometimes He just doesn’t seem to even care what other people think.

If you follow Him, you’re on your own. We’re out of here.

“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” I Peter 4:3-7

“They” used to make fun of you from benches and bleachers, smoking weed and holding beers in their hands. Dressed in jeans and T-shirts they defined coolness, acceptance, and survival. Sometimes it felt as though they held your future in their hands.

“They” are still wearing jeans but now they’re sitting in boardrooms or barstools holding martinis or margaritas, they save their weed for home. And now, you see, they pretty much do hold your future in their hands. Acceptance means promotion, raises, benefits, job security, the best assignments, political clout.

But that’s just the future now.

There’s more to come.

And there are children starving, women trafficking their bodies, men selling their souls and they won’t know the way out unless you get it to them

And the crowd in the boardroom hasn’t got a clue.

The One who knows the way out, the pathway to freedom, that’s Jesus.

You can join Him in freeing others but first, you need to let Him free you from THEM.

(Step 1: Read Matthew 25:31-46. Step 2: Do what it says. Step 3: Do it again tomorrow.)

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    The Conversation

  1. Great post! It is so true. We have the answer but we can’t give it to others if we don’t accept ourselves. God is so good, He gave us Jesus. Why do we fight that reality? Why don’t we embrace it.
    We need to share all that He has done, all that He is, and all that He will do for us in our future.
    Glenda Parker

  2. How true! And I’m especially reminded of how out-there we are when I’m with my family during the holidays.

    But there’s no place I’d rather be than out-there!