Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Too Much Jesus

I know, I know...you're probably thinking there's no way you can have too much Jesus!  You're probably right.  Just give me a few minutes to explain my phraseology and perhaps then you'll understand.

This weekend I was crazy blessed to attend the memorial services for my cousin, Susie Been. 
Somehow attending her services really drove home to me the fact that I know many of my friends far better than I know most of my relatives.  Some of my relatives I know very well, I'm pretty sure the face they show me is far different than the face their friends see.  I'm left wondering which is the real them....Susie was my friend on Facebook, I saw her a couple of times a year but that's it.  I loved her lots and always thought she was a fabulous, generously loving and genuinely kind individual.  When the pastor opened up for personal eulogies, I was so excited to hear people express sentiments about the exact same Susie that I knew!!  She was an amazing woman and when you looked at her you felt the face of Jesus in her every action and word.  She lived up to the challenge of being His hands and feet here on earth.
It seems anymore that "Jesus" is somewhat trendy.  You see crosses on everything from ripped jeans and phone cases to dog leashes and water bottles.  People are wearing Jesus everywhere but somehow I don't see His face in very many of them.  I'm honestly not meaning to judge but let me give you an example of missing his face in spite of 'too much Jesus.'  A few years ago we were on a homeschool field trip with a religious homeschool group (I usually avoid them like the plague).  This particular field trip involved several hundred students from homeschool and public school.  It was a great day and the venue had worked hard establishing the groups and how we would cycle through them.  My kids dipped candles, washed clothes on a washboard, sat in an old fashion one room school room, learned about some time period work trades, etc.  The negative of the day was NOT the public school kids, who all really know how to stand in a line and follow directions, it WAS the one mom from the homschool group with "too much Jesus."  Her ringtone was Our God Is An Awesome God and her ringer was on super loud,  it must've rang a dozen times that day.  Each time it was in her Jesus bling purse and she had to dig for it pretending each time to apologize.  Each time interrupting a speaker or presentation, her circle of friends acted like it was just fine-I was mortified as a homeschool mom and as a christian.

When Jesus roamed this earth, he didn't have a giant "J" bedazzled on his robe or demand lots of rubles for his time .  His followers didn't sport "team Jesus" on their sandals.  After He died for us, they didn't tattoo a cross on their arm or brand one onto their donkeys' ass.  They lived and breathed the message, they were his hands and feet.  They did for others quietly and almost anonymously. 

Back to Susie's services.  The pastor, Brother Been was 97 and has been leading that particular Pentecostal church for 67 years!  Each sentence ended with an amen or a hallelujah; it was a true celebration of life, not preaching her into heaven because she'd done the work herself.  Near the end of his message, in a soft voice he said, "We serve a handicapped God."  I was stunned.  I looked around and there were no strange expressions I thought perhaps no one heard him.  He again repeated, "WE SERVE A HANDICAPPED GOD, AMEN?!?!?!"  The congregation shouts AMEN and he continues "He relies on us to be his hands and feet, we are humans and the biggest handicap of all!!!  Amen....Hallelujah!"  Talk about humbling.  We who he loves so much handicap him because we fail him every day because we don't do the work of his hands and feet.  People look at us and see our bling but does our bling prevent others from seeing his reflection in our hearts.

One more story, once upon a time I wanted a Jesus fish (Ichthus) on my car-everyone was doing it.  You'd see entire fish families.  When I expressed my desire to Handsome his response was simple, "Honey you realize that's a big responsibility."  ????WHAT do you mean?????  "If you have that fish on the car, it's a symbol that you're a Christian-are you willing to drive like a Christian all the time?  No speeding, no cutting people off, no gestures?"  I realized I wasn't worthy of a Jesus fish on my car because I'm human and there is no way I'm capable of representing his love 24/7-I fail him.  I am his handicap.

Wear your cross, put that fish on your car but remember the most important Jesus you have is the one who lives in your heart-the one that others can only see when you show the same unconditional love he shows you, behaving as the good Samaritan and striving to do the work of his hands and feet until he returns.