Matt, you don’t know what you’re missing.

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It was mesmerizing. I’d calmly sit, transfixed by his hand movement coordinated with the warm sound of fingerpicks and the squeak of fret slides. My gawking presence didn’t seem to bother my big brother too much. Rather, every few songs, he’d offer me an opportunity to try it for myself. I’d sheepishly decline. The instrument was a bit intimidating. “Matt, you don’t know what you’re missing.” he’d say with a smile. I figured he was doing a good enough job. Why slow things down, stop the music, just to get me up to speed? I liked the idea of playing, but despised the uncertainty of learning.

I’m both concerned and disturbed by the amount of people I’m coming to know who aren’t involved in their local church. Sure, they attend – legalistically so. They even tithe as Scripture calls for. Yet when it comes to moving beyond the Sunday morning motions, they tap out. I don’t believe it’s laziness. I don’t believe it’s even lack of desire. Rather, I trust it to be intimidation. Like the junior high boy who was fascinated with the guitar, but didn’t dare to give it a strum. He’s doing a good enough job. Why slow things down, stop the music, just to get me up to speed?

If you’re currently a sitter, may I challenge you to be a strummer? To join in the song?

I imagine the first thing coming to your mind might be your schedule. You know, that 9-day-week you’ve scheduled for the next three months. Or maybe it’s your lack of a Bible degree. Teaching the toddlers how Noah killed a whale with a sling and a stone – even the thought makes you nervous. Or maybe I was wrong and you are, in fact, lazy. 

The bottom line is we need you. That’s right. The rest of us playing the song need you. See, the church is comprised of all sorts of people from all sorts of places with all sorts of expertise. We are a body. His body. The arm needs the hand. The hand needs the arm. The mouth needs the foot. Oh, the irony. 

God has gifted you. And He has called you to use that gift for God’s sake. 

So… will you pick-up the instrument? Will you join the song? 

Pretty please?

I’ll leave you with this, my brother’s warning, “Matt, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

A Jedi and Jesus

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My best friend, let’s call him Yoda, recently left the States for long-term missions work. This is great news for the Kingdom and those he’ll be ministering to, but terrible news for selfish, little, old me. I know he’ll be safe and, just as important, effective, but I’d just rather have him here; at least just a few nights of the week maybe. Perhaps he could get a private jet or simply evangelize on public Skype channels. But no, he had to leave. It’s something I understand, but don’t like. Yet in light of it, we both seem to agree that neither of us want to be forgotten and so we’ve insisted on setting up little reminders throughout our lives; small tokens and mental notes that usher a sense of each others presence. He’s only been gone for two weeks, but our memories are living strong. Though I’ve begun to wonder. What if he were gone for over two thousand years?

At the possibility of my best friend forgetting me, I catch a mere glimpse of the pain, frustration, and longing Jesus could feel for those of us He’s reconciled. How many reminders of Himself has He placed throughout my day that I fail to give attention to? How many times can I pledge to Him my heart on Sunday, with barely a trace of commitment found on Monday? Is ignoring His Word and prayer much different than ignoring my best friend’s emails and text messages?

I believe it is simply communication that could strengthen mine and Yoda’s long-distance relationship. And just the same, the absence of communication could destroy it. In my relationship with Jesus, this begs the question: Is my level of communication strengthening or destroying the relationship I enjoy with my Creator? He has, after all, promised a return.