Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's In It For Me?

Today we continue the series on being obsessed taken from the work of Francis Chan in Crazy Love. Our jumping off point is this quote, "People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly without censure. Obsesses people love those who hate them and who can never love them back."pg 132.

We have all heard by now that it is better to give than receive. For the most part that has become a cliche that people really do not believe to be true. Increasingly people are willing to give as long as they get something in return. We will give to charities so we can receive the write off to our taxes. We will take someone out for lunch this time and next time they will buy. When an opportunity to give arises we can easily get into a cost benefit analysis. The root question in that moment is, what is in it for me? This is the driving question of capitalism, and the consumer driven world.

When was the last time you gave with no chance of getting anything in return? Isn't that the truest definition of sacrifice, giving without return. The person who is obsesses with Jesus models Jesus in giving to those who hated him, and to those who could not pay him back. Think about it, the religious leaders of his day, hated him. Through the centuries there have been people who very openly and publicly have expressed their hatred and denial of Jesus. He died them. How about you and I? Can we ever repay Jesus for his sacrifice on the cross? I think not. He still did it knowing there was no way possible that we could repay him.

In the world of the church it is easy to thing about serving those who can benefit the church. If many pastors are honest that is why they engage in congregational care, because they do not want the people to get made and not contribute to the church. Many people give to the church financially and otherwise and expect in return the church will take care of them. We are back to the what's in it for me question again.

I wonder what would happen if people became obsessed? If people began to serve others, no strings attached, and the only hope is that they would themselves become obsessed? I wonder what would happen if people began to give freely and openly of their time, talents and treasures to the people they hate, or those that cannot pay them back? Is it possible to do away with the what's in it for me question all together? Yes, but it will mean being obsessed with Jesus more than ourselves. I believe this is not only possible, I believe this is already in the works. As more and more people repel the consumeristic faith of the past century, and begin to recapture the ways of Jesus this is happening.

May we all become obsessed with Jesus, give freely and openly. May we be so obsessed that we follow the lead of Jesus and give to those who hate us, and to those who cannot repay us.