God’s heart, energy, and actions are towards both the marginalized and those who realize they need help. When I cooperate with these actions and realize that only he can make the deciding difference in these areas, life is meaningful and sustainable. As such, my help towards others and even me getting help and working hard, though very important, are more like those who “took off the grave-clothes” from Lazarus after Jesus raised him from the dead (John 11:44).
As I run my race, do I live with this aforementioned perspective in mind? A surfer knows two key things: (s)he has to “catch the wave”; the wave heads only to the shoreline. Similarly, a sailboat is dead in the water minus wind in its sails; its propelling wind heads in one direction.
Many American churches seek foremost the desirables (those wealthy, healthy, and respectable) and focus primarily on measurables (buildings, budgets, butts, and awesome, quantifiable missions). Further, you often hear from them a message of “Do, do, do! You didn’t do enough! You are wrong, wrong, wrong!” Here, preachers are foremost either converted sports coaches, who encourage their team to outperform what they did last week or CEOs, who mainly seek the best natural assets for their vision.
Of course, robust budgets, healthy and loving people, and set attainable results can be helpful; they’re just not foundational for the church built on the confession of Christ as the Son of the Living God (Matt 16:13–28; Rom 12:8; 1 Cor 3; 12:27–28). I’m thankful for people who organize, lead, … and realize that unless God builds the house we labor in vain. For God’s message is not foremost do, but done. And, he seeks and supports the humble not the proud, the weak not the strong, those who catch his wave of compassion to “the harassed and helpless” (Matt 9:35–38).
You don’t get things right in your life so that you can be loved by either God or his people. God’s love is not earned or because your life inspires affection! Instead, you experience God’s love, abundance, and unmerited attention—first and foremost—while you don’t have things together; then, having been loved first, you can love others in the same way and bring goodness into their lives, regardless of how they act to you (1 John 4:19).
When I apply this concept to my race, I ask: Am I riding God’s wave and heading in his direction or will my efforts on That Day be exposed as “wood, hay, and stubble”?
You can catch my first post on Running the Race, here. My next post presents three examples—provided by Zechariah, Paul, and Jesus—that flushes out what it means to catch God’s wave, have his wind at your back.