Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Get It While The Gettin's Good!

“The grabbing hands grab all they can. Everything counts in large amounts….” These were the lyrics ringing through our speaker system after my husband bought a CD remix of a popular group out of the ‘80s.1 It is amazing to me how true these words are in our culture and our world today. Allow me to share an example. A few months back I was watching a live concert on television, I can’t remember which channel. Anyway, it was a beautifully harmonized, robed choir singing another song out of the ‘80s (I’m showing my age, aren’t I?): ”We are the world, we are the children. We’re the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start givin’.”2 The extremely large crowd was swaying with every arm way up high in the air. Their eyes were closed, and it looked as if some sort of revival was about to take place.

As corny as this sounds, I actually got goose bumps. Those dissolved as quickly as they came, however, when the crowd began to roar over a popular celebrity who walked out on stage (the one who recorded the song). As the shining star took over the spotlight, he took off his leather jacket, lassoed it in the air and tossed it into the crowd. Well, the hands that were just surrendered in the declaration to “start giving” began fighting over that leather jacket. Thank goodness they didn’t have candles or the place would’ve been on fire! All the while, the robed choir moved forward to surround and sing with the celebrity, and you could actually see certain members nudging each other out of the way so they could be closest to him. Yup, we are the world, and sometimes we act like children….

As easy as the cynicism flows and the judgment follows, the Lord wants us to take these kinds of situations to search our own attitudes. Before we look at the speck of greed in the crowd, we need to look at the planks of selfishness in ourselves (Matthew 7:3 applied in this context). As Christians, what do we grab while the grabbin’s good? Some of the things that come to my mind are food (super-size me!), the last pair of shoes on the rack, the road (that lane is mine!), the front pew at church, the closest parking spot, as well as the remote control after a hard day’s work. Some of us even feel a need to rush to the spotlight for some well deserved attention or to fight over the open position at our jobs. The list goes on and on, and we can somehow force ourselves to believe this mentality is needed to get ahead in life, or at the very least, to survive this life.

Jesus’ way of thinking is the opposite; instead, He teaches in Matthew 6:33 to “seek first His righteousness,” and in 6:19 NOT “to store up for ourselves treasures on this earth.” Does this mean we can’t have possessions? No, but He wants us to come empty-handed, seeking Him before all else.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
IN THIS WAY THEY WILL LAY UP TREASURE FOR THEMSELVES AS A FIRM FOUNDATION FOR THE COMING AGE, SO THAT THEY MAY TAKE HOLD OF THE LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19

If we believe these words, then is it possible our entire mentality needs a makeover? It’s not just about grabbing things, as in possessions; it’s also about having an attitude of “I deserve this” or “It’s my turn now.” It's saying, "I serve a lot in this church, so they better listen to my opinions." Or "I've worked hard this week. I deserve a pat on the back now and then." And "I am entitled to this person, place or circumstance." You fill in the blank.

Jesus could’ve had anything He wanted, but He spent His life giving—He opened his hands and arms wide in His living AND in His death. He wants us to understand this message and get it while the gettin’s good, my friends. THIS is the thing we need to be quick to nab. So let’s “DO good, be rich in good deeds, being generous and willing to share,” grabbing hold of THE LIFE that is truly life—the one that seeks Jesus each and every day in every way in all that we do and say….with open hands, we pray. Amen.

1 Lyrics taken from the song Everything Counts by Depeche Mode
2 Lyrics taken from the song We Are The World by Michael Jackson

In the Key of HE,

9 friends shared a comment:

Tracy said...

Another great post, filled with the Wisdom of the Lord. Thank you for faithfully sharing your insights with us!

I'm an 80's girl too and recognized both songs immediately. Which reminded me, did you ever hear the song by Weird Al "We are the Worms"? It was obviously a parody of "We are the World" and was hiarious! That said, I must admit, though I don't do it often, I really prefer to sit in the front row at church because then there is no one in front of me to hear me sing! ;) Blessings!

Becoming Me said...

Beautiful post fill with wisdom and love. THank you.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I love the way you painted the scene. I was watching it without really having to watch it!

This reminds me of a scene I was part of a couple of years ago. Beth Moore was speaking at conference and was signing authographs at her book table. The line was...well...huge! I stood at the back of the line, hoping to have a moment with her. Alas, not to be. She left with a literally throng pressing in to simply touch her.

Now, I love Beth better than anyone, but the scene reminded me a bit of what it must have been like to be that woman in the crowd, longing for a touch of Jesus' hem.

After I thought about this, and my involvement in the mayhem, I was literally sick to my stomach that evening; that night I surrendered my hero worship of Beth. I'm just being real here...I know that there are others who fully understand what I am talking about.

People are just people, and I imagine that the throngs who rightfully surrounded Jesus were less than throngs who surrounded Beth that night.

Something to think about...

peace~elaine

Patty Wysong said...

So well put, and so full of truth. The fact is--we don't deserve what we have. It's only God's grace.

This has made me stop and think about what I expect and my thought process...thanks.

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, wow--such wisdom here (and if you were showing your age, you were showing MINE too ;)). I needed this lesson today - for sure. That "I deserve it" mentality needs to be removed from ME. Thank you.

Laurie Ann said...

This was a truly great post, LauraLee. The wisdom and insight you share with us is a gift. This post is one that you need to get published and share with not just us but submit to a magazine!

Indeed, the first shall be last and all that. We do live in a me first world, and it's so sad.

One thing I noticed yesterday, though, was the willingness of strangers to go out of their way to help in the hospital cafeteria. It may have been because of a cute 13 mo. old attached to my hip and me balancing a lunch tray in another, but people were getting things for me and moving out of my way to let me go ahead of them. And he wasn't even yelling. Hmmm....

Betsy Markman said...

So true! Sometimes we get it in our heads that if we experience a warm fuzzy feeling about sharing or other good things, then we've actually done that good thing. We feel righteous because we've gone into a certain state of mind and sung a certain song...we've done our part. But we aren't changed, and we haven't actually touched any lives.

Very convicting.

(And my musical tastes stalled in the '80's, too!)

Debra said...

Laura Lee,

I must admit I did love the wisdom of this post...however, I kept being drawn to the sidebar and the little gadget there. I'm praying.

lori said...

The SCARY thing is that I knew the artist before I got to the END of the post...had Depeche Mode on cassette in college...along with..let's not go there, I get a little crazy with 80's music!:)

I really take this one to heart...we talk about "entitlement" all the time, my husband and I...and you know we have to be careful as Christians in the churches that we don't let that attitude penetrate into our communities...but it sadly does...

Hey...you are SO SWEET to put that image no your sidebar..it looks so great over there...when I saw it I thought..hey, I've seen that:)
I just LOVE when they touch someones heart...

YOU are the one with the gift...with words...

always a blessing girl!
peace,
lori