Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Hidden?" No

So this Sunday (Feb. 15) at Crossroads we're going to be looking at another theme that rises out of Graeme Sellers' book The Dangerous Kind. The chapter title is "Hiddenness." I have uploaded a scanned copy of the chapter -- you can download it as a pdf here.

As of now the main scripture readings that we'll be using are from
  • First Samuel 16, where the Lord leads the prophet Samuel to anoint the youngest son of a large family to be the next king, saying that it's not the outward appearance that matters, but, instead, "the Lord looks at the heart," that is, a persons inner self, their character, morality and overarching attitude.
  • Matthew 6, where Jesus teaches his disciples about giving and praying and fasting, warning them not to do these things to purposefully gain attention.
As we have proceeded through the chapters of Graeme's book, I've been using different titles for my messages each week--different, that is, than Graeme's chapter headings. Most of the time I did that for reasons that I can't fully explain. (Go here to see the messages and titles we've been using.)

This week, however, I'm using a different message title because a message title such as "Hiddenness" might lead us to think that God wants everything we do to be hidden and secret--and, that is just not true. After all, Jesus says we are NOT to let our light be hidden! In fact, he says "Let your light so shine before (in the sight of) others so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven!"

As of this moment my tentative title is "Not for Show." The good point of Graeme's chapter is that nothing we do as believers in Jesus should be done in order to draw attention to ourselves. We should not be seeking publicity for ourselves. The book chapter challenges the ways that Christian leaders use publicity to draw attention to themselves--and are often seduced into wanting more and more applause.

On the other hand, and this is why I'm changing the title for my message this week, we should not think God wants us to be shy and avoid the spotlight either. Enjoying obscurity can be good for a season (Graeme speaks of this in regard to a church association) but that is not always God's call to us! There are times when we are too quiet, too publicity shy, too solitary. When we are too hidden open conversations like this will not go on.

I'm not just quibbling over terms. Many believers in Jesus honestly think it's best to remain hidden. I don't believe, on the basis of scripture, that is true. If you read the rest of Graeme's book, you'll see he doesn't believe that either! After all, you can't be "dangerous" against the enemy and on behalf of the kingdom if you stay hunkered down. Remember this: if Jesus had remained completely hidden, he would not have been killed.

So let's not stay hidden--but let's not do things just "for show" either. God can give the wisdom and correction needed as we let God's light shine brightly through what he does in us. 

These thoughts are not fully developed. Please share by commenting or in any other way what you think. Help me better hear and communicate what the Lord is saying to us now.

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