". . . when you have lost the joy of your salvation and have begun sharing Christ out of habit, competition, or just plain duty, there is no relish in it and not much to keep you going. After all, what can you say? "'Become a Christian and be miserable like me?"' ~ Bob George
On Wednesday mornings I lead a men's bible study. When I woke up this morning I felt like I could barely put one foot ahead of the other. I am a morning person, and almost never have a hard time getting going.
Like many people, I find that life can become busy. You go a couple of nights with almost no sleep, and you feel like your batteries are about empty. Life's events can also seem to gang up on you. Over the the last few days two people I thought a great deal of, Bob and Ricky, left this world. If it had been my call, I would have considered them far too young to die. As circumstances would have it, I got the call about Ricky from his brother. My cell phone buzzed just before I entered the funeral home to pay my last respects to Bob. Jimmy had just found out that his brother was dead -- he needed me to walk him through the steps of breaking the news to his elderly parents and the funeral proceedings. Jimmy also believed he would have to go to the morgue to identify his brother's body -- my friend was hurting.
Bizarre circumstances had taken Ricky's life -- he died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his own home. The odorless, deadly fumes made him feel tired, and he lay down to take a nap -- he never woke up. It got worse. At the time, Jim's parents were vacationing on the Cape. Before he could get to mom and dad, they learned of their forty-two year old son's death from the television. Travesty and heartbreak -- a mean duo.
Back to this morning . . .
How do I say this? So, I was not in the best of moods this morning, but I knew that a group of men weren't showing up at 6 A.M. to meet the personification of Grumpy and Sleepy all rolled into one. On top of that, the subject of the study was anger -- I have had my fair share of dealing with that personal demon. My spirit was sinking, and a deepening weariness wanted to prevail. Driving to the church, I began asking for Divine help. I did something I have never done -- I put in a CD of one of my own messages. I was begging God, Help me! I want to walk the talk.
Funny how things happen. The first two guys who met me at the door this morning asked me, "Do you know _________ and his wife _________?"
"Yeah (sigh) . . . I know them."
"Man, they hate you! But don't let that bother you Bill, they are the two most miserable people in the entire neighborhood!"
I responded, "Thanks, guys."
Where I am going with all this? God guided me through the morning, and then this afternoon I resumed preparing for a new class I will be teaching at Christ Community Church. The name of the class is Compass: Finding your way to God. There is no curriculum; instead, I am developing the journey we will take. In one of the resources I was perusing, I read the above quote -- it hit hard and sounded a warning. The combination of all the events -- a lack of sleep, the death of friends, spiritual distraction, and the good news that I am hated by someone -- had drawn me perilously close to living out of a heart that would testify -- Become a Christian and be miserable like me.