Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, the savior of the world. But I think this is what the second coming might be like…
Scenario 1: Glance at the clock. Realize the time. Tell the kids to get their sandals or socks and shoes on and get their cute selves out the garage door into the minivan. (The adjective cute may or may not be the actual adjective used.) They listen.
Finish up some last-minute things (i.e. pack the diaper bag, turn the fireplace off, make sure all the appliances are off, etc). Listen to cheerful children singing in the minivan, asking each other for help to get buckled into their carseats. Also, revel in the “Thank you, my big brother!” and “You’re welcome, my little brother!” echoing from the garage door into the house.
Walk to the garage door holding an angelic baby. Buckle her in while the other children sing in three-part harmony. Get in the driver’s seat, start up the minivan, look at the clock, and realize that we will be on time. Maybe even a little early! Life is good.
In the scenario above, the children did as they were told and treated each other very well. They did not get distracted, and they worked together to accomplish the tasks at hand. I wonder how often Jesus gets happy just listening to us do what He’s asked us to? (This is not a judgmental question… I get happy when my kids play nice together and do as they’re told. I’m guessing Jesus does, too.)
Scenario 2: Glance at the clock. Realize the time. Panic. Tell the kids to get their sandals or socks and shoes on and out the garage door into the minivan. They start fighting. Or even worse, thumb wrestling. Or they can’t find their favorite shoes, which I know are mud-caked and sitting outside. Somehow manage to get all their feet shod and headed towards the minivan. They get distracted.
Try to get together all the necessities of life-with-young-children… diapers, snacks, wipes, snacks, nursing cover, snacks, small toys, and snacks. Did I mention snacks? Overhear the children fighting over a ride-on toy shaped like a fire truck. Feel even more pressured. And angry. And disappointed that they are not being team players. After all, this thing that we’re getting ready for is for them!
Realize that all the lights in the whole house are turned on. They did it, those little stinkers! Run room by room to turn all the lights off. Realize that the baby needs a diaper change. Her grinning does not help the situation one little bit. Neither does her crying. Quick-like-lighting is slow compared to how I change and clothe my little wonder. The other little wonders are now crying for food, as if they each hadn’t just chowed through a three-egg omelette. And told me they were all full.
Run to the minivan. Get all three to go into the minivan for the first time, reminding them loudly that they should have already been in their seats and buckled. They each stop to pick up an imaginary piece of food from the minivan floor. Plop bottoms in seats, buckle wiggly ones in, and steam over to the driver’s seat. They are fighting and yelling and crying. I am sad, angry, and disappointed that they did not listen and are not treating each other nicely.
I take a deep breath, open the door, and bring down the wrath of Mama. Which can be quite considerable, if necessary.
In the scenario above, the children definitely did not listen to me or treat each other well. They got distracted by every little thing around them and delighted in picking on each other. How often do we do that as well? Is it better or worse within the church, or those who call themselves Christians? How might Jesus feel when His children disobey His directions and treat each other poorly?
This is not an indictment on any one person, any one denomination, or any one people group. This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty, angry, or upset. This is just something that came to me this morning as Scenario 1 played out in my garage.