Before I go any further, it should be noted that the title of this entry is not meant to be offensive... quite the contrary. It will hopefully serve as encouragement to those of us who never feel worthy or good enough...present company included!
Chan begins Chapter 7 with the following statement: "By now you've probably realized that you have a distinct choice to make: just let life happen, which is tantamount to serving God your leftovers, or actively run toward Christ." I think it's fair to assume that if you've made it this far into the book, you're going to chose the latter. So, that leaves us asking the next question: "What does running toward Christ and pursuing Love look like in daily life?" p. 113-114
Chan advises us to look at Hebrews 11 for the best example of those that wholeheartedly followed Jesus. This chapter is often referred to as The Hall of Faith... but Chan warns us that despite the temptation to refer to those mentioned here as being "superhuman, or supersaints," they were anything but! In an effort to save time and space, the list below highlights some of the great men and women that fill the pages of Chapter 11... along with some of the trials they have faced:
Abraham - feared for his safety, lied about his wife (twice)
Jacob - stole his brother's birthright, tricked his father and then fled from his brother
Moses - was a murderer
Rahab - a Gentile and a prostitute
David - an adulterer and murderer
Samson - had so many issues, Chan didn't know where to begin!
All the people listed above are seen as heroes of our faith... but heroism does not equate to perfection. They were flawed human beings that God used for incredible things... because they had faith in Him... faith that He could redeem their lives and use them for His works. While I'll be the first to admit that I would never want to be compared to these people, I will also admit that seeing their imperfection... and, more importantly, how God used them DESPITE their imperfections... gives me great hope for what He can do in me.
In closing today, I want to share Chan's perspective on Noah:
"Noah spent 120 years building an ark and warning others of the impending judgment. Suppose the flood had never come- Noah would have been the biggest laughing stock on earth." (And my personal side note here: I can only imagine that HE WAS the laughing stock for those 120 years! Can you imagine???) "Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to believers." p. 114-115.
Yesterday, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel, working on a writing project. The view was breathtaking... an overlook of Bar Harbor, Maine. But, as I was sitting there, deep in thought, God spoke to me... not audibly, but nonetheless, He made it clear that I was to go speak to this man sitting at another table...so I did! I got up off the couch, sat myself right next to him and asked if I could ask him a personal question. He looked a little taken back, but quite amused and replied, "Sure." So, I simply asked him, "What do you think about God?" This lead us into a 20 minute conversation about faith, religion, doctrine, relationship... and about 15 minutes into the conversation my husband showed up. Come to find out, this man I was sharing my faith with has spent the past two years working with my husband. I'd never met him before... but wished I had because he was a believer! For the next 5 minutes, the three of us talked about faith, and politics... something I don't usually like to do... be we all share the same views, so I made an exception! So this morning, as my husband and I were walking to the lobby, he jokingly asked who I was going to talk to today about God. I told him, "Whomever the Holy Spirit leads me to." He just laughed. When I questioned his laughter, he said quite plainly..."I actually think you mean it." And, my response: "Of course I do!" We both couldn't help but chuckle.
Do you ever let your sin hold you back from the benefits of being a child of God? It's easy to do... to convince ourselves that we are not worthy because of all the "junk" in our lives... or in our pasts. Look back at those whose lives are written in the Hall of Faith... adulterers, murders, prostitutes. Their sins are no worse or better than ours... but God used them for great things. He can use us, too! Today, spend some time talking to God about this.