Where the Action is
(post 8 of 10 in The "S" Word series)
I think deep down we all desire to be where the action is: where things are happening, where there’s life, fun, results, momentum. We try to avoid the seasons of life, situations, and organizations that are stale, stuck, failing, and lifeless.
I was reading in Matthew 15 the other day and I came across this verse:
“And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them.” -Matt. 15:30
The first thought that came to me was:
Jesus' feet is where the action is
Two other events from the Bible came to mind right away: Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and her sister Martha and when the friends of a paralyzed man dug a hole in the roof at Capernaum to get their friend to the feet of Jesus.
The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 says that Martha was “distracted with much serving” and Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.” Jesus then responds to Martha after she has voiced her frustrations about doing all of the work alone, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” He was encouraging her to be where the action was!
In the other story, the friends at Capernaum knew that if they could get their friend to the feet of Jesus, Jesus would heal him. The crowd was so big that they couldn't get to Jesus through the front door so they had to get creative and dig a hole in the roof. But they were right, once their friend was lowered down to the feet of Jesus, he was healed and his sins were forgiven.
Isn’t this why Jesus drew so many crowds? People want to be where the action is.
So where is the action today? Jesus is no longer with us and we can no longer literally sit at Jesus’ feet. We can definitely sit at his feet in solitude and in time with him, but it’s different. So where is the action? Did it leave when Jesus went to be with his father in Acts 1?
What if the action should now be at our feet?
“It is better that I go away because I will send the counselor.” -Jn 16:7
“You will do the things I have been doing but you will do even greater things.” -Jn 14:12
We now have the Holy Spirit. We are sons and daughters of the King, which gives us full access to the King and the resources of his Kingdom. Jesus asked us to pray,“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So why is there not more action at our feet?
This quote from John Wimber really struck me:
“I remember the frustration of attending a church the first few times, and I thought, ‘This is great. I’m going to join up. I want to do this stuff.’ You know what I thought they did at church-- I thought people gathered at the church, had a good time together, sort of divided up the land, and everybody went out, healed a few people, cast out a few demons, and won a few people to Christ before lunch. When they didn’t do it I was disappointed. So I asked one of the leaders, ‘When are we going out to go do it?’ He told me, ‘Oh you don’t have to do it. You just have to believe it was done once.’ I found out over the next year or two that we cried about it, we sang about it, we preached about it, we prayed over it, we gave to it, but we never did it.”
Ouch. That is pointed isn’t it? I’m feeling challenged just typing this out.
Even though we may not have framed it in this way, is it not accurate that most of us live in a way that demonstrates that we actually believe that this stuff only happened in the Bible… that the action and the power left with Jesus?
If we are not seeing God’s power transform our own hearts, minds, and lives and we are not seeing his power transform those around us, what is this faith we believe in? And is it doing any good in the world? Is it working?
If we are going to be true to our label of Christians, “little Christs”, what should our lives look like? Is head knowledge enough?
If you’ve been following along in this “S” Word series, we’ve been looking at the supernatural and exploring the possibility of living naturally supernatural lives. Remember, the supernatural, the Holy Spirit, the power of God, hearing from God, and praying for others doesn't have to be weird. It does not have to be scary.
But friends, this Christian life is a spiritual one. God is Spirit, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and God created us and longs for interactive relationship. Not only do we get a new identity as a child of God, a child of the King, but we then get to partner with God in expanding his Kingdom, which is a spiritual and supernatural Kingdom.
I’m afraid that what we have done is made our faith primarily cognitive. Because of that, the action within our own hearts (transformation) and the action at our feet (Kingdom advancement) has been limited.
This last Sunday I sat down to journal and do the “Prayer Audit” experiment that I suggested last week. I wrote down all the different times I had prayed with somebody, over something, or over myself. I then ranked my level of expectation for each prayer, from 1 to 10. Some of them were in the 5-6 range, some in the 7-8 range, and some in the 9-10 range. It was interesting to think about why my expectation varied from prayer to prayer. At this point, the results of those prayers aren’t immediately evident, but I kind of surprised myself with the quantity of prayers. This has been a 7 year journey for me, from beginning to wrestle with what I believed about prayer, its effectiveness, and what my role is, to now beginning to step in and pray a lot more. Even though the “results” of my prayers are not overwhelming, I’m excited to be engaged in advancing the Kingdom and learn as I go.
Wimber was famous for saying:
“It’s doing the stuff that’s gonna change the world. It’s not knowing that it’s been done once.”
I don’t know about you, but I think he is right.
Did the action leave when Jesus left earth? Why or why not?
What is your reaction to Wimber’s pointed and challenging quote?
Go do the stuff. Take some time this week to sit “at Jesus’ feet.” Ask him what opportunities (places, relationships, roles) he might be placing in front of you to step in and advance the Kingdom. Ask him, and take time to listen. If you get something from him, write it down, sit with it a little longer if you need to and get clarity, ask God for courage, and then go do it!!! Remember you are a child of God, a child of the King, and you are going in his name.