What do we do for the people with the desire to follow the highest callings of humanity? Do Christians have anything to offer these people?
Do you know these people? There are people in our society today who desire to be simply the best of humans, caring for each other, caring for the world, open to beauty and love and secure that they are not the be all and end all. Is there anything that Christianity has that would make sense to them since, in many cases, they don’t really see a point to religion… well, “organized” religion (and they think we’re organized… that’s kind of cute. They don’t realize we’re just neat.)
So, again, for those wanting to be the best of humans among us, do we followers of Jesus have something to offer?
The best answer I have is… it depends. And what it depends on is the “organized” part of our faith. If what we think we have to offer them is the ORGANIZED part, then they’ve already told us to bug off. If we have an organized part that’s helpful to us, and we utilize all it offers, then good for us, but we can leave them out of it. What they are looking for is the part that we can’t control… the messy part… the part that doesn’t do well setting neatly between the pews.
This is the part that moves more with Jesus than for Jesus. It’s the part that believes and acts sincerely and with amazing confidence that God is already at work in the world and isn’t dependent on us. We’re dependent on him and we’re not coming with answers. We’re seeking answers from him because the first thing we’re admitting is that we don’t know what to do or how to do it. We just know we’re supposed to show up… well, and do as we’re told.
And that’s what we have to offer, our presence and obedience… well, and maybe one more thing that really does tie into obedience but may not feel like it. We need to listen and we need to listen well… extravagantly well. We need to listen closely to the words, ideas, stories and impressions of these hoping to be best of humans and to God at the same time. And if we do that a marvel takes place at times, wondrous times… they both speak in the same moment. Words will be coming out of the mouth of these hopeful best at the same moment that words will be entering our hearts from the voice of God. And whatever they’re telling us will be enhanced by the voice of God in our souls and we’ll be told – “There! Right there! That’s where I’m at work. That’s where they heard me. Hear that… now tell them how close they are to me.”
A man commended Jesus one day on his answer and he expanded on Jesus’ answer and demonstrated that he had been listening to Jesus. He got it right. Jesus said to him, “You’re not far from the kingdom.” And that’s what we get to do in obedience. To act like our Lord is to share the good news that these hopeful best are close to the kingdom. “Yeah! Yeah, that part! You got it in there. Just expand it.”
And when we do that extravagant listening well, then what happens is a marvel. We get to introduce them to the best of humans… the truly best. And through him they’ll discover not only that he is an excellent model, he gives them clear directions (way), a guide to follow (truth) and a freedom based in security (life), but also a friend to walk with them as they move. And then they’ll also get a friend in us as well.