There is a Peanuts cartoon in which Lucy has a beef against her old nemesis, Charlie Brown. She begins to chase him- shouting, "I'll get you Charlie Brown and when I do, I am going to knock your block off!"
Charlie, who has been running at full speed, suddenly stops dead in his tracks and whirls around and says to Lucy, "Wait a minute! Hold everything! We can't carry on like this! We have no right to act this way. The world is full of problems.
Too many people keep hurting other people. People do not take the time to properly hear what is being said so they can understand one another. Now if we as children can't solve these relatively minor problems, how are we ever expected to..." whereupon, all of a sudden, POW!
Interrupting Charlie in mid sentence, Lucy proceeded to clean his clock and knock him to the ground. When Charlie asked, "What did you do that for?" Lucy replied, "I had to. You were beginning to make a lot of sense."
Isn't that our response to so many issues that make us a little uncomfortable in life? When something starts to make sense that would shake us out of our comfort zone, rather than admit that we have room to grow and could learn something or two in an area, we just look to beat the daylights out of it so it can go back into the dark where it belongs. Unfortunately, that approach keeps us stagnant and stale and in a holding pattern with very little room to expand our horizons. It also exposes an insecurity that resorts to bullying the very things that we could benefit from.
A little over a week ago, I ventured out into an experience that I knew going in would stretch me to my limits. I have never been what you would categorize as a "country boy." I definitely feel more at home in center city Philly and New York than I ever would out in the hills of the middle of nowhere. Still something inside me was drawn to join nine other men from the Lighthouse Church in an eight-day fishing and camping trip up to northern Ontario in Canada. We roughed it without any of the conveniences of home at all. It was the longest I had ever gone without a shower. It was the most time that had ever passed without me communicating with my wife at all. In many ways I just wanted to punch the trip out of my sight into oblivion.
I was in over my head. I was put in situations where I was out of my element. Would I be open to ponder some new things or just opt to sit there and pout?
Well I humbled myself and admitted my need to depend on the expertise of those around me and because of that approach, I experienced some things that I always wanted to do but never would have if I did not give up my pride.
I saw my first moose in the wild. I caught fish and actually ate them over an open fire. I got a glimpse of a full-sized rainbow that greeted the dawn with a breathtaking view.
I also got a whole lot closer to a group of guys that I thought I knew but really had no idea how many wonderful and unique talents and strengths that each one personally possessed. And just think, I would have never learned any of these things if I chose to beat away what I wasn't ready to open myself up to.
Every Sunday, I watch people begin to get stirred by what they are hearing when they come to church. I see the beginnings of what could be an exciting adventure if they are just willing to listen and learn and follow where the Lord leads. I see the tears and the fears and from my vantage point, just by seeing the outward evidence written on the faces of those in the crowd, I get to observe the inner battle going on inside their hearts.
Part of what they are taking in is beginning to make sense, but just as it starts to resonate with the spirit, the will begins to resist any change that puts someone in a position of discomfort.
The temptation becomes to knock the block off of what has the potential to rock your world. But just as Lucy chose to take Charlie out rather than invite the ideas of Charlie Brown in, I believe the biggest thing that keeps people from following God is not that He doesn't make sense, because He is the embodiment of truth. The reason people panic instead of pray is because they are not willing to give up the wheel of control in their daily world and come as a humble student ready and willing to learn and experience the things that they would never see if they continue to try to have perfect vision with closed eyes.
The definition of a disciple is to be "an active learning follower..." Too many so-called believers have lived like they haven't believed much at all. How active are you today?
Are you constantly willing to listen so you can keep on learning? School didn't end when we graduated years ago. God is still inviting us into this classroom He calls the universe. Who or what are you willing to follow? Is it someone bigger than your own reflection? Are you a "know-it-all" or one who is willing to honestly say, "The more I know the more I know that I don't know..."
To the Lucys that are reading this article today, I beg you to unclench your fists and come out with your hands up ready to look up so that when you fight you do so only to understand more truth so that you can continue the pilgrimage to full maturity.
I beseech you to abandon the attitude of being so dead set against ever being stretched. You must not stubbornly settle into a rut that prevents you from being a student of new things.
I am personally praying for you all right now that in the coming days- your eyes will be opened to a whole new world and the Charlie Brown that you wanted to beat upon today may very well be your best friend tomorrow.
You can email Pastor Rudy by writing email@example.com
or the old fashioned way at The Lighthouse Church, P O Box 1026, Rio Grande, NJ 08242.