I want to expand a little bit on why Sammy’s word on Matthew 5:6 got to me so much. He told me he felt led to remind me of that verse because he just knew I had been searching for something. Try to stay with me on this one. I was sitting and reading the other day and a certain quote and Matthew 5:6 just slammed together in my mind. The interns (myself, Jake, and Jordyn) are reading a book by Charles Swindoll called “Improving Your Serve.” Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten very far in it. I say “unfortunately” because in just 2 chapters, Swindoll has totally floored me a few times. One thing he wrote that really got to me was on page 16. It was a quote from Wilbur Rees.
“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”
Swindoll interprets this to say that we don’t want to dump God entirely, just keep him at a comfortable distance. That makes sense, but I read it a bit differently. (Please keep in mind that I have not read the excerpt in its original publication.)
When I read the quote, I read it not as partially dumping God, but as not letting Him get too close. I read it as “Don’t get too close, God, because you’ll make me uncomfortable.” So that’s like not letting Him get close enough for us to dump in the first place. “I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.” “Hey God, I know you are supposed to be awesome and all, but like, you want me to love *insert name*, and let’s be real- they’re not worth loving after what they’ve done to me.” “Hey God, I know you created everyone, but I just can’t get on board with loving that stranger over there. He looks crazy and smells funny.” “Hey God, I know you want us to go help those in need, but like, there’s a football game on Friday, so I’ll be out late and I’m not getting up on a Saturday. I have work/dance/soccer/cheer/baseball/etc practice every day. I’m sorry, but there’s just not enough time for me to help your other children. Someone else will do it if I don’t.” I’m pointing to myself just as much as anyone else.
I think Matthew 5:6 and this quote go hand-in-hand to me because I have been searching. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” “For they will be filled.” When you search for anything, you’re searching because it’s missing, right? I have been searching for that fulfillment, but at the same time, I’ve been holding back and have been- not so much not wanting- but I guess you could say that I’ve been shying away from the “new birth” or “transformation.” I have wanted the salvation, to go to heaven, the feeling of God’s love, while only doing enough to barely soothe that thirst and keep myself comfortable. The problem with that is this: at some point, barely enough isn’t enough anymore.
I feel that we, as humans, are scared of most kinds of change. One of the biggest transformations we can make is when we accept Christ. No, the life change/transformation doesn’t happen immediately. God doesn’t say, “Bippity-boppity-boo!” and all of the sudden, all the worldly things we want, love, and do are just gone. They’re still there. The desires and thoughts are still there. It’s a process…. a process made harder by our fear of changing too much. Why? Different reasons, I guess.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
This summer has been one of the most fulfilling times of my life. I have finally and wholly been doing what He wants me to do. The reason I couldn’t speak when asked where I saw God was because I saw Him everywhere. I had found just the smallest glimmer of what I had been looking for. I was able to watch these kids, who I love just as much as my own son, grow and experience God outside of “church.” I, myself, was able to experience Him.. in a place I honestly didn’t expect to: sitting on the sidewalk and talking to a homeless woman. The feeling of Him was so powerful that I just couldn’t speak. I had gotten WAY more than just $3 worth.
(Originally posted on my old blog on July 23, 2014)