Right In Front Of My Face.

Debit Readers

Have you ever overlooked something that was really obvious? I mean it was right there in plain view, but you couldn’t see it?  To make matters worse sometimes the pressure is really on and you’ve got to come through for everyone, but you don’t know what the answer is or even where to find it?  You know the type of situation I’m talking about don’t you?

Like finding the “Yes” button on the debit card reader at the grocery store.

Isn’t it about time that we finally adopt a standardized button layout for these machines?

I know that the button is there on the machine, but where?

Sometimes the button says, “enter”,

Other times it says “accept”.

Occasionally it doesn’t say anything at all because the words have been rubbed off.

Sometimes the words on the screen are by the button you are supposed to push,

but sometimes you have to tap the screen with a stylus.

If you’re lucky the button is green,

but sometimes it’s blue.

You may know where the button is on the machine at a Safeway, but go into an Albertson’s, and you need Tommy Lee Jones doing a hard target search of every henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in the county to find it.

So you stand there paralyzed,

Staring at the PIN pad,

While a woman behind you is clearing her throat and pointing,

And you finally see it…

It’s right there on the pad,

 A stationary button that doesn’t move.

It’s been there the whole time.

It wasn’t hidden.

It just wasn’t where we wanted it to be.

Would it surprise you to find out that Jesus dealt with situations like this all of the time?  Situations where he tried to make things perfectly clear, but people just didn’t get it?  The New Testament is full of scenarios where the people closest to Jesus, the disciples, had no idea what he was talking about.

Probably the greatest illustration of this is that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection came as a complete surprise to his followers, even though these events are foretold by the scriptural prophets and Jesus himself.

The choking point for the disciples seems to have been their intense focus on, and desire for, Jesus to be the kind of savior that delivered them from political, social, and financial oppression.

As first century Hebrews living under Roman occupation, every one of God’s chosen people lived under a yoke of actual physical suffering.  Overtaxed, physically abused, and socially marginalized, their intense desire for freedom in every area of their physical lives came at the expense of recognizing the depth of their spiritual need.

Remember that the nation of Israel didn’t generally believe that they had a salvation problem, they were already “God’s Chosen People”.  In their paradigm, submission to God’s rule over them wasn’t for eternal salvation; they believed that they submitted to God for the sake of receiving his blessings.

Lost in the midst of their painful self-focused theology were the prophecies that Messiah would suffer and die in order to redeem all of humanity, including the Gentiles who would also be brought into the Kingdom of God.

I’d submit to you that an honest look at our American version of Christianity reveals that we feel very much the same way about Jesus that his disciples did:

Believing that we’ve received salvation from Jesus we run down a path where we begin to ignore much of what He is saying… unless it has to do with relieving the frustration we feel at the hands of our “oppressors”.

“Now that my eternity is secure, it’s time to focus on making my present more comfortable.”

Is this why many Christians in the richest nation in the history of earth spend massive amounts of their free time distracted by media that rails against their perceived financial, social, and civil oppression?

Is this why we gloss over much of what Jesus commands in regards to discipleship?

Is this why we don’t ask our pastors to preach about Jesus’ teaching that we will suffer?

Is this why we flatly ignore the New Testament’s commands to patiently endure suffering?

Unfortunately it’s easier to complain about politics and taxes on Facebook than it is to engage with people who don’t know Jesus.  It’s also easier for us to get caught up in conversations about our special interests than it is to engage in the life that interests Jesus.

What interests Jesus is quite plain,

It’s actually written very clearly in Scripture.

We just have to stop looking frantically for what we want it to be,

And be willing to accept it for what it is.

“Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” -I Thessalonians 4:9-12

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” -I Timothy 2:1-4

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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