It was a brisk winter evening in Spokane Washington tonight. I decided on my day off to visit my housemate and good friend Palmer Bandy in the women’s shoes department at Macy’s. After he got off his shift, we perused a local shop called “Oil and Vinegar”. In the store there are bowls of bread where you can go around and try samples of all the different oils and balsamic vinegar. They had chocolate vinegar. I only liked the chocolate part, the vinegar burned my throat but in a good way. The way whisky does, it’s a good burn. I felt manly. Except then I realized that I was sampling olive oil and balsamic vinegar and I was surrounded by middle aged women. Then I didn’t feel so manly. I felt shiek though. I will say that.
After this we went to a local bar and sat down on couches next to a roaring fake fire. The perfect wooden logs glowing red in all the right places. The warmth behind the glass found its way right underneath my coat and warmed my soul. We sat and ordered some fancy non-alcoholic bar drinks. Palmer ordered “lemon lime and bitters” and for me a coke with grenadine. We got looks from a few of the other customers as we sipped on our fruity sodas next to the fake fire. I didn’t care. We’re awesome.
Palmer and I started into a conversation about how if everyone actually believed what the Bible said and acted on it then the world would look different. It’s a common statement to make at a bible school. We weren’t excluding ourselves by any means. I asked him what it would look like if we really believed what the Bible says all the time. “I’d probably get out of the house more.” Palmer said.
“What do you mean?
“Well, I wouldn’t be as scared.” Palmer said as he took a sip of his super manly lemony drink.
“Hmm”, a long pause ensued as I wondered silently. “Maybe that’s it -- fear.” I realized though for me the problem isn’t the fear of believing in an all-powerful God. In my mind I knew that I should fear God, that if he sneezed on me I would most likely die. It all made sense and was all lined up in my head. What was it fear of? Then it struck me. It’s just as Palmer said: to go outside. The acting part is the tough part for me; the fear to act. I look back in Scripture and God is always challenging people to act. Interestingly enough, He challenges them to act in the present moment. He doesn’t ever warn anybody or give a heads up. He didn’t come to Mary and tell her that she will have a child in a few years so get the baby crib ready. Or to David to go ahead and train for a little bit because one day you’ll slay a giant and you’ll need to improve your sword skills. God shows people what to do in the moment. Because in the moment you know least, are the least prepared, and haven’t given it great thought. I think God does this so that we’re forced to trust him if we choose to walk forward. So that when it works, we know who did it. It’s like the story of the three servants. Two expounded upon the funds given to them, the other feared the command to act, played it safe, and suffered for it. We aren’t supposed to be impulsive, that’s not what I’m saying. The Bible talks a whole lot about patience and wisdom. Not undermining that fact. I’m talking about acting on what you know God wants you to do in the moment. The prompting to get involved past the surface with an acquaintance, the prompting to give to the needy even though you are needy, the prompting to Love when Love is not deserved, or to serve when it is the most inconvenient.
I currently attend a Bible school. I get frustrated at people who say that they want to do ministry one day. Pisses me right off. We’re all called to do ministry all the time. Every Christian is supposed to be a minister. Not everyone is supposed to be a teacher in the church, granted, or a worship leader or a priest or whatever. But all of us are accountable to be pushing the gospel forward at every given opportunity. If you fail at being a missionary to your current city, you will fail in Uganda. If you fail to share the gospel at work, you will fail to preach in a church. If you look at porn now, you’ll look when you’re a married Pastor. Show me what you did today and I’ll tell you what tomorrow will look like. It’s the principle of the seed. You reap what you sow. If for years you sit around and accomplish nothing thinking that once you get on the ‘mission field’ you’ll start sharing the gospel, You’re doomed. Fact of the matter is this is me so much of the time. I fear to act. I put it off till tomorrow a lot. The spirit convicts me loudly on these matters daily. I am often times the shiek kid in the bar with a fruity drink pretending to be manly. But like what we just talked about; he often times asks us to act in the moment so that we know that it wasn’t our strength, or skill, or great intention that did anything. It was him. Then we’re like cool burly men drinking whisky as we ought to be: Super manly.