I’ve enjoyed this little four-part foray into WWJD, about freedom, fairness, faith, and fundamentals. (See what I did there—the 4 F’s? Would I make a good preacher or what?) Kidding. I just understand things better when I write…and memory tags help me.
Last week, I blogged about true religion, citing James 1:27. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world,” which got me to thinking. What are the pollutants in my world?
I would say…the sins of the checklist variety. You know, the debauchery ones, the lying and cheating ones, and so on, but I would also include those of the lifestyle variety — pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, sloth, envy and such.
In other words, there are plenty of pollutants to go around. And we need to steer clear of them because they cause a ton of problems. So it seems that true religion is part outreach (taking care of widows and orphans) and part inreach (taking care of our own junk).
This seems like a solid fundamental to me.
So what are some of the others? Some might say “be nice and happy all the time.” Jesus, however, called the Pharisees a brood of vipers and whitewashed tombs. He wasn’t always “nice” in the typical sense of the word. (See Matthew 23.) And once, he was hungry and passed a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit, so he cursed it and it withered up. He wasn’t always happy. (I’m not making this up.) It should be noted, however, that he could have cursed the guys nailing him to a cross, but he forgave them. He was quite something.
Maybe our fundamentals are too shallow. Maybe he deeply understands us because he’s been-there-done-that. And maybe he strongly wants a relationship with us so he can show us the way. The ancient mystics had a belief that if we could really understand the Christ, nobody would reject him. I don’t believe he’s sitting on the sidelines with a pen and clipboard giving us a grade. I think he wants togetherness.
Here’s Matt. 11:28-30 from The Message (contemporary language paraphrase). “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Or according to the New International Version – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
WWJD about the fundamentals? I think he would recommend outreach, inreach…and this. “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I love that so much.