I’ve debated whether I should write about this or not. The debate is over and I have chosen to write about it. It’s going to be difficult to keep it short.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Peter today. He did so much as a disciple and follower of Christ. So much is written about all he has done. He gets made fun of for a lot of the bone-headed things he did. The one thing that I have been thinking about today is Jesus’ statement to Peter that he would deny Jesus 3 times that day. I have wondered what really went through his mind and emotions that led him to deny Christ.
I had an experience this weekend that my good friend Joel brought to my attention that was not much different than Peter’s denial.
Our church held what I hope will be the First Annual Egg Drop. I missed the entire event while I was out at the back entrance to the park directing traffic. When the Sheriff’s deputy showed up to help with traffic – as people were beginning to leave – I began to walk back to the football field where the egg drop took place.
As I made my way to the field, I encountered several people who had just attended the festivities. I heard comments like, “Needed more planning.” “Next year don’t let the adults on the field.” “Thank you!! It’s amazing that you all would do this for the community.” “My child only got 2 eggs… this was ridiculous.” “Fine job…” That last comment was not a happy one… it was with much sarcasm and anger. I didn’t realize it until I laughed and smiled and started to say thank you. I listened and asked questions of this individual. Apologized and told him I would relay his comments to the leadership.
As I made my way to the stage, all I wanted to do was take off my yellow t-shirt that labeled me as a volunteer. I didn’t want to hear any more comments like that one. I was a little un-nerved by that last individual.
I think everyone was rather overwhelmed by the event. There were some 5,000 people there. Way more than what was anticipated. After we loaded up the gear that was on the trailer Joel pulled with his vehicle we headed off to unload and drop off the trailer. We were debriefing the day. I was hearing really for the first time what all happened while I was still out at the street directing traffic.
I told him how at one point I wanted to take off my volunteer shirt so I wouldn’t have had to hear anymore comments like the last one. Joel reminded me of Peter and his denial of Christ prior to the crucifixion. When he made the comparison internally I froze. And the thought of that has stayed with me all day today.
I’m reading Erwin McManus’, The Barbarian Way and am being challenged. I highly recommend this book!! McManus states, “God’s will for us is less about our comfort than it is about our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God created you so that your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life.” (44-45).
After telling you the story of what I experienced at Saturday’s Egg Drop – I still wonder what would I have done if I had been wearing Peter’s shoes. Would I have denied Jesus? Would I have wanted to take off that which labeled me a follower of Christ? Would I have wanted to walk a much easier road than the one chosen for me? I want to live a radical life for God… but how far am I really willing to go? Is it just to the point of being uncomfortable? Has my faith become “civilized”?
I’m reminded of Galatians 2:20 where Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(NJKV).
The Message reads, “I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Paul was marked by Christ. 100% identified with Jesus. He was known without shame or compromise as a follower of Jesus! He chose the dangerous road.
I’m thankful for the insight Joel brought my way on Saturday. It’s been a tough lesson to learn. God wants nothing less than my full unashamed attention… for me to be identified with Christ.