Reveal the Encounter Episode 16: DEPENDENTS

I was recently working on my taxes for last year.  I think like many, this is the absolute worst thing you have to do.  I would rather scrub toilets or have a root canal than do my taxes.  Our taxes have been all over the place the last couple of years with our boys growing up.  We have lost credits we used to get even though they are still just as dependent on us as they were before we lost the credit.  I don’t want to get distracted with how irritating taxes are but it did make me stop and think about being a dependent.  I never thought about my relationship with my parents as being a dependent but I do know I was ever so ready to be out on my own, I didn’t want to be dependent on anyone.  But, isn’t that we focus on from the moment our children are born, to grow and one day become independent?

I can’t help but wonder if this is why we struggle in our relationship with God.  After all, our creator is our wise, loving, providing and sustainable heavenly father and we are God’s dependent children who are called to receive all good things from him whom we are dependent on and then to use these good gifts for their intended enjoyment to the glory of God.  However, so often we want to use them for our enjoyment and to bring glory to ourselves, not Him.  Sometimes we may use them as intended but for the wrong purpose and so we twist them around so in the end they bring glory to us and not to God.  Isn’t this what has happened since the Garden of Eden?  Man twisted things around because they wanted glory, humankind wanted to be at the top.  If we look at Babel, mankind wanted to build this city and do all these great things, not to glorify God but themselves.  Throughout history humans just keeps trying to build things for themselves but they always fall apart, just like Israel when things became more about themselves than about honoring and glorifying God.

Humankind is telling God every time they try to glorify themselves that they don’t need Him and that they are the most important thing, but we should be seeking shalom in our lives, not glory.  If we are seeking shalom, we see that there is an order to things in this created universe.  We see that in this order, humans are at the top in this world but right under God.  If we are seeking shalom, we will embrace our dependency on God and stop trying to prove that we are independent and are just as good, or better, as our parent.  We have to accept the order of things and stop trying to take over the order of things.

I also think we need the focus in our churches to stop being all about salvation but instead about shalom.  We are quick to say that we need God for our salvation but that we are good in everything else in our lives.  We need to be pursing shalom in all areas of our lives.  Shalom is all about understanding, accepting and then trying to live out that created order in this world and our own personal lives.  How many times are we trying to build a Babel from our church or from our own personal ministries?  How many times do we try to say with our lives, “Look at what I have done” and not look at what God has done?  What if Christians and the church stop trying to make a name for themselves and instead tried to live shalom?  I will have to admit that I am just as guilty of this.  I have many times tried to do things while also promoting “my” church or ministry because we want our church or ministry to grow.  But, we have to ask ourselves the big question, “Is it about our ministries and churches growing or just simply bringing God the glory by embracing and living shalom?”

I wonder what would happen if we stopped worrying about ourselves and just did everything for Him who we are dependent on.  I know this sounds very counter cultural in almost way.  Unfortunately, it even sounds very counter church.  I just can’t help but wonder what this world, the Church and even my life would like if we embraced shalom fully in our lives.  Being at peace means understanding who we are and who we are not.  Maybe it’s time for us to remember who we were meant to be and what we were meant to do instead of us trying to elevate ourselves to a status and mission that was never meant to be.  May our whole lives and ministries be about being dependent on the one who we strive to bringing glory to in every word, action and thought.

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