Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Band Camp, Yearbooks, Lists and Jesus

As I was driving home from work in the terribly hot, humid oppressive weather this week, I passed some students walking down the sidewalk carrying their band instruments. Sudden flashbacks of band camp invaded my thoughts. Spending weeks each summer during high school getting up early, going to the school, sitting in a sweltering hot band room, dressing in nice wool band uniforms for the first football game when it was 90 degrees out, etc. You get the picture. And then it hit me. Why? Why did I do it? I am not musically inclined. I usually didn't have my music memorized like I was supposed to. I didn't have some burning desire to go to competitions or advance into some great musical career. Then I remembered. The yearbook.

The more things you were involved in the more times your picture and name would appear in the yearbook each year. And then when you graduated you also got to have a long list of activities listed that you were involved in. I wanted a long list. I counted them. It didn't matter to me that I didn't even like some of the things I did or had the faintest interest in them. It was the list. The list that made decisions for me. More things - more something. As though a long list of achievements would give me some type of self-worth. I would have been better off picking one or two things I really liked and had some natural talent at and pursued those passionately. I know it is and was vain and who really cares. But back then it seemed to matter to me.

Following Christ can be like that. We want a list. A list of all the ministries we have served in, on and for. We want to be on people's lists of important ministry something or others. And then there are the rewards. Isn't that the goal, get to heaven, stand before Jesus and have him unfurl a long scroll listing all of the things you did for him? After all - we do get some sort of a crown or jewel or trophy or something for that, right? You know, make sure your face is in every picture as Christ looks back through the history of this church or that ministry. I am certain he will be so impressed. As He looks through your pictorial history, will he see His face in the picture? Will he mention how much you look just like Him? What will he see? After all the word says that God looks at the heart . . . 1 Samuel 16:7b "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Oswald Chambers asks in My Utmost for His Highest: "Are you more devoted to your idea of what Jesus wants than to Himself?" That is good food for thought and something to seriously ponder. Are we (am I) more interested in making a list of things to do for Jesus than I am in who Jesus is? May my 'list' pale in comparison to my devotion and love for my Savior.

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