From the Pastor’s Desk:
Do we Really Care What Simon Says?
I am a big fan of Pastor and author Francis Chan. He has a remarkable sense to use vivid everyday examples in life to express the calling that Jesus has for all of us. Here is one such example: We are all familiar with the children’s game “Simon Says.” Of course, its pace is a bit too slow for children now. You know, there isn’t an app for playing it (at least I don’t think there is).
“Simon says, jump up and down.”
“Simon says pat your head.”
“Now jump up and down again.”
Ok, you and you, you’re out. I didn’t say “Simon says.” We all know that we do what Simon says, and if Simon doesn’t say to do it, then we don’t. Or we’re out.
So when Jesus says (follow me, love your neighbor, go and make disciples, …), what do we do? Honestly, when we read His words of what we are to do, I don’t think we follow him as we would Simon. We willingly acknowledge that they are not only as valid today, but absolutely need to be followed by all of us and those throughout the world. But do we? Follow them, I mean. Or do we tend to memorize those verses, maybe highlight them in our Bible so we know where to look the next time? Maybe we “like” a Facebook post. We may even seek the opportunity to follow Him soon after, but tomorrow and the day after, well, we’re back to where we started. Why is that?
As I type this message, it seems as though spring may finally be here. And with the last frost hopefully behind us, many of us will begin to plan out our flower and vegetable gardens and landscaping projects around our homes. Nurseries, Lowe’s and Home Depot will be hopping crazy with flocks rushing to buy equipment, mulch, bags and seeds. We will plan according to the size and shape of the ground to plant seeds. We will combine flowers, plants and bushes in a well thought out plan so that we achieve not only the “look” we are looking for, but one that the neighbors will envy! Then in the days, weeks and months to follow, we will care for and nurture those plants so they can grow. Water, shade, fertilizer, weed control … all so we can make conditions just right for our plants to grow according to our plan.
What about His plans? The truth is, conditions can never be made “just right” for us to begin planting His seeds. Something will almost always be in the way. The perfect situation may never present itself to allow us the courage and conviction to follow His command to make disciples. We aren’t ready and don’t know what to do to plant His seeds. We may never be able to truly nurture His seeds once they’ve been planted, so why try?
That’s ok. Conditions don’t have to be perfect for His seeds to grow. The soil doesn’t have to be just right. They won’t need to worry about being among the weeds nor will they need our water to make them grow. He nurtures the daily walk of each of us. There are weeds around us every day, yet we continue to grow in His love. We all continue to grow cleansed by His baptismal water. He grows the seeds regardless of how or when they are planted so long as WE plant them.
So as we find ourselves at the nursery the next time picking out a plant (or wherever we may find ourselves), extend the love of Jesus to the person at the register or in the aisle next to you. As we put our plants in the trunk or back seat of our car and start to drive away, and see the person as we leave the parking lot holding a sign that says “homeless, need help …” Stop. Give that person a few moments of your time (and dollars or food and water if you have them, too). Give them your time and talk to them, and better yet, let them talk to you and be heard. Can you imagine a life in which no one speaks to you, yet so many have already formed opinions of you?
Use those everyday moments that we are given to plant the seeds. His seeds. Not because I said so. Not even because Simon says. But because Jesus says.