On Tuesday I got a wonderful text from my youngest son, Jacob. He had just passed his FAA check flight as captain. After many years of flight school, flight instructor, first officer, he has now achieved a huge milestone to move to the left seat and be the captain of a commercial airline. Good stuff! About the same time, I got a text from my great friend Bobby Davis. Pastor Bobby is the head of a mega-church in Cookeville, TN. He is a terrific communicator, has a pastor’s heart, and has seen his congregation grow exponentially. They have about 5 services each weekend on about that many campuses. He was inviting me to speak in a few weeks at Life Church.
Have you ever experienced sending the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time? I had a funny meme all prepared for Jacob of a guy jumping up and down, clapping ecstatically, and doing the silly happy dance. I think that fits a proud dad, celebrating a big promotion with his son. As soon as I pressed send, I realized happy dance guy did not go to Jacob but to Pastor Bobby, maybe not the dignified, “I am willing to be the servant of God” image I wanted to convey to my pastor friend. Do you know that there is no “take it back” button on the iPhone?
How many times in my own journey with God have I sent the wrong message at the wrong time? I am trying to describe the blessings that God has bestowed on me, and it comes across as boasting. I am voicing a prayer need that I have had for quite some time (can you say Shingles?) and it comes across as whining. I am sure there have been times you were trying to do or say the right thing and the message that was being heard was just the opposite.
Many of us are reading through the Bible this year chronologically. We are following Tara Leigh Coble on the Bible app. Today the story was about Moses trying to be the judge, counselor, and life coach to 2,000,000 Israelites. His father-in-law, Jethro, takes him to task for this. “This is not good,” he says. Doris’s dad used to say that in a more Tennessee dialect. He would observe some event or my response to some event and he’d say, “That ain’t no good.” Either way, the message is clear. “You are trying to do the right thing, but the message is the wrong thing.”
So, what was the wrong message that Moses was broadcasting? Well, maybe, “God can’t really be trusted to speak to and through other people, so it all must come through me.” I’ve sure sent that message enough. Holding tightly to some job or task at Branches or the church, acting like the whole thing would fall apart without me. Putting on spiritual airs like I had a direct line to the Holy Spirit and my opinion is absolutely the will of God.
We have been talking this week about curiosity, interest, having an inquisitive spirit that is willing to learn new things, let go of old ones, and admit I don’t know it all. That is so important because it keeps me in a place of hearing and seeing the moving of God in a new and fresh way all the time. But it is also important because it sends the message of humility, of partnership, of recognizing that God has us all in this for a reason, to help one another, build each other up.
I challenge you this weekend to examine some relationships you have and check the messages you send. Are you the first to offer your opinion? Do you have to have the final word? In your family, your office, at church, do you take the place of God too often? I know we mean well, but we might be sending the wrong message. Let go and let God is a pretty good mantra to live by, and a pretty good message to share. Now, I need to find a meme to send to Pastor Bobby that says, “My grandson must have been playing with my phone. I’m still the deep and profound minister of the Gospel I have always been.”