I think that far too many Christians have this following Jesus thing turned around.
For most of us, the word that summarizes our role is “initiate.” Our stated theology insists this isn’t true, but our lives betray our true creed: We think its up to us.
We think its our job to get closer to God. We think it’s our job to get people saved. We think our parenting hangs on our effort. The world is waiting for us to make stuff happen. Seek God. Raise godly kids. Lead your ministry. Initiate conversations about spiritual things with people who know God. Discipline yourself into godliness (where’d that one come from?!). Suck it up. Move on. Go, go, go.
This goes far beyond the age old being vs. doing balance beam. Both are needed, and yes, it’s hard to get just right, but the one word that summarizes what God wants from us isn’t the word “initiate.” It’s the word “respond.”
We love, because he first loved us. He speaks, we obey. He heals, we celebrate. He reveals, we worship. He forgives, we thank him. It’s always about him first, us second.
For me that takes the pressure right off. I don’t have to make anything happen. I really don’t. My job is to listen, to receive, to welcome what God is saying and doing and giving. And then to respond. I need that today. Today my head is spinning with all the stuff that needs doing in the church. The vision is huge. The demands are scary. It looks like a mountain that’s daring me to climb it, waiting for me with crevasses and loose boulders and mountain lions and a 70 degree incline.
But my job isn’t to initiate. It’s to respond. Not to decide, to obey. So doing and being come together beautifully. First I receive — BE. Then, I obey — DO. Neither are complete without the other. Man, that feels good. How about you?