At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”
– Luke 10:21
“Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound. It is not your devotion to God that makes you refuse to be shallow, but your wish to impress other people with the fact that you are not shallow, which is a sure sign that you are a spiritual prig. Be careful of the production of contempt in yourself, it always comes along this line, and causes you to go about as a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than you are. Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.
“To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, nor is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps; the ocean has a shore. The shallow amenities of life, eating and drinking, walking and talking, are all ordained by God. These are the things in which Our Lord lived. He lived in them as the Son of God, and He said that ‘the disciple is not above his Master.’
“Our safeguard is in the shallow things. We have to live the surface commonsense life in a commonsense way; when the deeper things come, God gives them to us apart from the shallow concerns. Never show the deeps to anyone but God. We are so abominably serious, so desperately interested in our own characters, that we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.
“Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I am thinking about starting a series on the subject of “Getting Over Myself”. I am applying this concept to myself, not just a note from someone, who has arrived, to the readers that are not there yet. I am hoping that others may relate. As such, I have no idea how many posts will be included or if the posts will be spread out. In other words, some random ideas rolling around in my head, but nothing planned. When I plan things, they might veer from God’s plan, so, here goes. The topics that I have thought about so far could apply to a variety of people.
To point the finger at me from the start, I recently wrote a second post in a single day recently, “Who Iced Charlie the Tuna?” It was a response from Kathy Boecher’s challenge (on her site – A Time To Share) to a few of her friends to write something packed with idioms, a story or poem. My first reaction was that I had already written and scheduled posts for a week in advance. I had gotten ahead on the writing due to the Holy Spirit putting a lot of things into my head at once. I feared that this was due to something negative approaching (buying me a buffer of time), but that has not materialized. But back to my concerns, I could have simply responded to Kathy by saying that I would write something, but not publish it for another week. That did not sound neighborly.
Then, my concern was that my posts may be light hearted at times, but there was always a Christian focus – some type of moral to the story. Would I lose my audience by doing something frivolous?
I had told my wife that I was thinking about writing a story about the untimely death of Charlie the Tuna. Then, when I was eating dinner that night, my wife told me to tell her what I was thinking. She could see that my mind was somewhere enjoyable, and she did not want to be left out. My reply was, “I just figured out how Charlie died and who would investigate the crime regarding the icing of Charlie the Tuna. How about Eggs Benedict?” She said that the eggs in Eggs Benedict were fried. I needed something that was boiled, if the detective was going to be a hard-boiled detective. That was her only contribution. I then thought of Deviled Eggs, but soon changed it to Detective Sergeant Deviled Yeggs, since a yegg is a safe cracker or burglar and it sounded like ‘eggs.’ Within a short while after dinner, I handed her the completed story. Of course, I modified it a few times after that. If I had waited a couple of days, I could have added even more mystery story clichés and idioms.
I posted the story only a few short hours after the challenge was issued. Should I feel bad that this ‘shallow’ story, to borrow Chambers’ word, got more views and likes than the serious story about climbing mountains and spreading the Gospel to other people? Probably not. Some stories resonate with the readers and some stories do not, but I have noticed with two posts in a day one gets much fewer views. I haven’t lost my audience, I don’t think.
Let’s look at the Scripture. Jesus says this to His followers right after His followers return from their first ‘mission trip.’ Jesus had sent 72 people out, paired into 36 teams, to preach on Jesus’ behalf. They returned to exclaim that they were able to cast out demons. Then, Jesus tries to get their feet back on the ground by talking about how little things were hidden from the wise, yet the little children could see them. C. S. Lewis wrote something similar saying that children and dogs know what snow was for.
So, why should I take myself that seriously? I have something serious to say. God loves you and He wants you to love and worship Him. But part of that enjoyment of God is enjoying the good things of this earth. One of them is laughter.
When I started this blog site, I started writing “Wednesdays with Wimsey.” Even the title was whimsical, You spell whimsy differently than I had spelled it. Yet, Dorothy L. Sayers wrote a series of novels using her detective, Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey. The Death Bredon comes out in Murder Must Advertise – Lord Peter was working under cover. I loved those books and the short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. They were whimsical. There just was not enough of the Lord Peter Wimsey stories written. Sayers gave up her detective writing to translate Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, a labor of love that was serious and meaningful. She could never get rid of her detective though. In her spare time, she wrote more stories, or pieces of stories, that were woven into collections of short stories and novels after her death. Sayers had determined that there was serious business to be done, but there was nothing wrong with having a little clean fun in the small bits of spare time.
Have you ever met someone who did not display a single iota of Joy? As my mother once said, “I have Joy. I’m just not happy about it.” Of course, that is not what she meant, but she rarely ever smiled either. But can you remain that way forever? When you realize how little we deserve the gifts God gives us, how can you sit there as if you have a corn cob jammed firmly up your hind quarters? Is that possible? If I tried, I would explode.
Yet, I have tried to be very serious in this blog for over a year. Okay, I do tell amusing stories or even jokes to illustrate my point regarding our faith journey, but I suspended “Wimsey” fifteen months ago.
If I think that I can explain the great Joy that Jesus has given me without writing an occasional silly story, I should Get Over Myself. I may or may not restart Wednesdays with Wimsey, or I may use the category on a day other than Wednesday. Not spelling whimsy correctly and not posting on Wednesdays might really confuse people, but you must think of the whimsy.
In the Video College of Biblical Knowledge, my wife’s and my Sunday school class, we had a video on one of the Gospels, maybe Matthew or John. As we concluded the video after several weeks of watching 20 minutes each week before discussion, I asked if there were any final comments. My favorite detractor in the class said that she did not like the guy who played Jesus. He smiled too much. She could not take him seriously. Really?! I thought of the Mark Lowry song about Jesus Laughing. Our Lord laughed. There may only be the verse saying Jesus wept, but Jesus was fully God and fully human. He had to have laughed on occasion. He was not simply stoned faced, but wept once.
You can take any story when God performed a miracle and anticipate laughter afterwards. In 2 Kings 6, the chapter begins with Elisha helping a worker out. The worker’s borrowed axhead had fallen into the water. Elisha threw a cut stick into the water where the axhead had entered the Jordan river. The axhead floated, and the worker retrieved it. The verse that is left out of the Bible is “Did you see the look on that guy’s face when God made that axhead float?” After the laughter dies down, someone might have used the line turned into a book by Jerry Clower, “Ain’t God Good!” There must have been so much Joy when miracles happened that someone in the crowd had to have laughed.
Now, can you imagine Jesus not laughing when He saw grown men act like children on Christmas morning when they experienced the wonders that Jesus performed. There must have been laughter, dancing, singing, and simply acting goofy.
But when they reacted like sensible adults and wanted to make Jesus their earthly king, Jesus reacted in a different way. He retreated from the crowd. Being an earthly king was not His purpose.
I need to get over myself and understand why God has me writing in the first place. I was always a renegade at industrial technical training, where education was the goal. I could not help myself. I had to do some pure entertainment on occasion. Why not here?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.