Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Garden of Words, Part 3
“SEEK ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
"And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe that
he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly
SEEK him.” Hebrews 11:6
Let me be up-front and honest about something I dislike extremely – the term “seeker sensitive churches.” It’s all semantics, but the phrase is unsettling to me. I get the meaning – a seeker sensitive church is one that desires to meet the needs of those folks who come through the door not really knowing if they want to cozy up to Jesus. They are “seeking” truth. Fair enough.
But this little label indirectly causes a division within the pews. Those who are “seekers” and those who are not. I will call this second category the “know-ers.” They are the lucky people who have made a decision to indeed, cozy up to Christ and live for Him. The “know-ers” come to church not seeking, but well, knowing.
See the problem with that? I have been a self-proclaimed “know-er” for most of my existence. I have spoken the following words many times:
“I know what the Bible says about that…”
“I know what I should be doing…”
“I know what God wants from me…”
“I know that verse, memorized it in college…”
“I know. I know. I know.”
Starts sounding a bit, well, arrogant, doesn’t it? Knowing about God is a good and valuable thing. I thank God for Mrs. Wright and all those Sunday school classes when I was little. Joann Goatcher was my Acteens leader at the First Baptist Church in Van Horn, Texas and taught me so much. My youth director Mary Carole Gentry made an amazing impact on my life. So many of God’s servants have taught me and poured their life into mine. Because of them and the wonderful garden that is God’s Word, I know a lot about Him and the Bible.
But so what? All my knowledge of God’s love will not do anything for me unless I seek it. Memorizing three verses about forgiveness will do nothing for me, until I seek forgiveness or I seek the strength to forgive.
A couple of years ago, I came to a crossroads in my spirituality. God gently led me to walk to my garbage can and dump everything I knew about Him and Christianity into the big brown container. He made sure I didn’t toss it into the blue recycle bin. I was to chunk it all. Why? Because “knowing” had led me to pride and a closed mind. “Knowing” had ended in a legalistic view of myself and others. “Knowing” had shut out the grace of God and so many wonderful new lessons He had for me.
So now I am no longer a “know-er.” Sure I can find Lamentations pretty quickly and I can share the stories of Jonah or Hannah to anyone who might ask. But what do I “know” about God’s plan for me? Nothing, except that today I get to seek Him. What do I “know” about the grace He has for me and others? Not much, but today I get to seek that grace and experience it anew. Christianity was once a list of rules and a way to categorize everyone around me. Now Christianity is an adventure of questioning, searching, finding and following. God and all He has for me is a mystery.
I seek. Sometimes I find. Sometimes I have to wait. But the looking is filled with joy.