The Scrimshaw Journal #1- Who pays the piper…
I never seem to be able to effectively communicate my thoughts. There’s been some stuff bouncing around up there recently and I’ve had quite a few people nagging me about journaling, so instead I’ll try this. Try to hang with me on this one, if you can’t (or get bored), no hard feelings:
Today I went into the library to knock out some studying (which usually means knocking out some doodling). I took a seat at one of those lonely cubicle things that are always mashed together so you don’t feel quite so lonely, when I happened to take a glance at some of the writings on the walls of my little enclosure. Among the usual etchings of private parts and profanity someone had written: “He satisfies every need & want. He will never let you go! His love never ceases. This man is Jesus! Freedom!”, to which someone replied below, “Grow Up”.
Now, if you know me then you may know that I have a temper problem. …I like to think the Lord is channeling that into a righteous anger, but I also like to think of broccoli as little trees so I can feel like a Dinosaur… Point is: Help me Jesus. Anyways, my first thought was to address this “Grown Up” by trumping his all-knowing, self-revering wisdom with a little bit of my own. In fact, I’d write a whole paragraph on the level of sophistication and depth of thought that the Bible transcends, and how if he had half a brain or the nerve to put some research behind his ridicule then he would see just how “Grown Up” the man and message of Jesus really was. This follows a similar experience I had recently in which (long story short) the entire purpose and philosophy by which I live my life was wrapped up in a neat little conclusion by a man who has spent a large portion of his life and probably most of his money on an education to achieve. “Foolishness”. Now granted, not the first time I’ve been called a fool, and guarantee you it won’t be the last. But still, these two events hit me pretty hard, and I went looking to God for some kind of cosmological offensive maneuver that I could pull the next time someone dare challenge me. …er, Him.
To my surprise, I discovered that God agreed with my accusers. There’s two ways that I think God is funny: 1. Just when you think you’ve got Him figured out, He makes you feel like you don’t know Him at all, and 2. He’s always the first person to critique himself. …also manatees. Manatees are proof that God has a sense of humor. But I digress… sure enough, it was in there. Jesus told his disciples just how “childish” all this stuff really was. Matt. 18:3 “And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. I tried to think back to childhood. Before math. Before school. Way back when you were too young to care about social rules and regulations, when you simply were. You knew you knew nothing. Everyone else knew you knew nothing. Information was flooding in on a daily basis, and with no rubric to test its validity, everything you received was received with a substantial measure of faith. Over time, that faith became violated, and you became less trusting, cynical, “Grown Up”. I find it interesting that on top of all of the miracles, parables and stories the only real proof, the only solid rock upon which the entire Bible stands, is faith. Faith is how we receive all that we receive from God. You can go read Hebrews 11 and see how Faith is the cornerstone of every one of God’s actions throughout the Bible. You can see how we are saved not because we are righteous, or because Jesus died on the cross, but because we KNOW that Jesus died on the cross. Because we have faith, and it is counted to us as righteousness. This is how God decided he would validate Himself: through Faith. What a childish thought! To believe that all of the complexities of the worlds problems could be solved by a man born two thousand years ago. Our “every need & want”. What a story the Bible is! Talking snakes, donkeys and bushes! Chariots of fire and golden armies of angels. “It’s absolutely absurd”, says the “Grown Up” inside me.
Again, the Bible says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God”. So it’s now clear to me that God knew two thousand years ago that this very intelligent man would say this at me, and that I would read this very mature comment, and in my heart I would doubt, and that doubt would make me angry. Why? Pride, I think. Jesus once said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Never quite got that, because it always seemed like Paul and the other apostles had a pretty rough time here on earth. I always assumed Jesus was talking about afterlife stuff: streets of gold and whatnot. But when I look at Jesus, and I see His example of humility, living among us, dying a criminal’s death by the hands of those he came to save, I start to thinking about his yoke and his burden. Of all the enemies that we have as a species, I don’t believe there is one more destructive than Pride. Pride is what caused Adam and Eve to think themselves equal to God. Pride is what makes me worry about whether or not I’m a success in the eyes of the world. Pride helps me to think that my view of reality is more developed than God’s. And no doubt Pride is what’s going to cause me to re-read this note to make sure I didn’t say anything stupid. Like it or not, Pride is something we have to deal with. But I wonder how care-free we would be if it weren’t so. How easy would our yoke be? How light our burden? To not care what anyone else thinks other than our Heavenly Father. It’s a scary thing to be entirely dependent on another individual. To be helpless in EVERY aspect of your life without this person’s constant guidance. And yet that is the place we’re called to, the place of a child. I can do nothing without Christ, …but WITH Him…. I can do ALL things. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. I pity the man who has “Grown Up”. How heavy his burden of pride must be. How blind he is to the truth of the Gospel. And anger can’t scare him. A strongly worded speech can’t convince him. And a facebook comment can’t help him to understand. We are completely reliant on the Holy Spirit to show him. In every way. We rely on the Holy Spirit to stir our hearts, to move us into action, and then to follow us into the hearts of a perverted generation. Foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, the power and glory of the Most High God.
Education is simply the result of influence, and influence can be (and usually is) underhanded. Your mentors are your makers, and so the question then becomes where should I look for truth? Shall I search out truth for myself? Shall I test it? Or shall I believe what’s taught in a class? Shall I buy into the plight of the majority? Who’s song shall I echo? Really in the end it’s up to me. …up to you. We can only influence as much as we have been influenced. And we are being influenced from all directions. With flutes in hand we’re marching forward, and he who pays the piper calls the tune.