Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A Burrito In Jesus' Name
Not long ago I had one of those odd kind of nights that I’d just as soon avoid.
I teach a group of 15-25 year olds on Thursday nights at our local Christian bookstore, Lords’ Walk. I really like them (it borders on love), but last night felt like we hardly got anything done together. They were either up and down almost constantly to help customers (there is usually someone who takes care of that who couldn’t be there last night), or they were eating burritos—big burritos. Gargantuan burritos, with loads of goop and glop. You know the kind.
Anyway, I suspect they got at least something helpful, though I don’t know if it was much. But since that’s not the first time in my life when things didn’t go as planned, I rolled with it.
Rolled on home, right into a storm.
I walked in the door with a beckoning and beautiful fajita burrito of my own (guacamole on the side), and instantly knew, “Ugh, oh.” No one greeted me, no one looked up, no one even threw a casual wave at me, which meant they were deeply into something deep. Within moments there were tears, frustrated murmurings, and a stomp-off into the bathroom. “Ahh,” I thought, “peace and joy in my castle.” Wisely, I zipped my lip.
What did I do? Well, I ate my burrito in Jesus’ name.
I know that sounds funny, but I really did. Romans 6:13-14 plays a big roll in my life, no less so than last night: Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Since the Holy Spirit first brought life to me, I have been looking for ways to enjoy it ever since. Why? Because I like it! I love God (who is life), and I love finding Him within me, which is where I looked to find Him last night. As a slightly ordered chaos paraded around me, I consciously offered myself to God, expecting to hear something from Him—Don’t do anything just now—or feel something from Him, such as peace in the storm. I became more aware of God in me than I was of the raw emotions and feelings on parade in front of me. Does that make sense?
I could have jumped into the storm and snuffed it out. “I want your attention! I want silence, and I want you to fix yourselves so that I like you and you all get along. There now—isn’t that better?!” But I didn’t. I had a Corinthian moment instead.
When Paul and company were visiting towns while holding out the offering bag, Paul noted a peculiar thing about the Macedonians. They didn’t just do what was logical, and they didn’t succumb to the pressure an offering bag can bring; before anything else they offered themselves to God. That surprised the offering bag people:
And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. (2 Cor 8:5)
That’s what I did, and since He didn’t lead me to do or say anything, I didn’t. And my fajita burrito was great. Just enough guac.
Ah, but later that night. . .When each of my girls had collapsed or dived into bed, I visited them. Offering myself to God, I felt compassion and patience, and had wisdom for daughter # 1, comfort and wisdom for daughter #2, and comfort and peace for my wife, girl #3. I just rubbed her back and shoulders, which drew quiet and approving murmurings.
Good move? Don’t copy me. I did what I did because I first did something in faith. I believe Romans 6:13-14, so that’s what I did. Avoiding some fleshly appeal to fix the situation, I offered myself to God instead and found life. That’s what life for Christians is—life by the Spirit. Life by grace, not by law, not by rules to make life work. Life by God.
The next time there’s a storm in your house, or when you’ve got a burrito to eat, or when the offering bag comes around, surprise someone—offer yourself to the Spirit. He might have something He’d like to do.