I got an award once that I was so very proud of, at a big ceremony in Beverly Hills, of all places. A really nice glass statuette. Lots of famous or near-famous people in the room got them, too. My wife was so proud of me. Now, finally, I had something to prove my worth as a human being—hunk of glass with my name on it! What more proof could you want?
The problem was I had to get it back home with me. It was so precious to me, I was unwilling to check it in the luggage. So I decided the smart option was to keep it with me under my seat on the plane.
I’m really surprised they let me bring it on there since it probably could have been a deadly weapon of some sort. But I made it on and then proceeded to shove it under my seat. It wasn’t fitting well, but I had to make it work at this point. So I shoved harder.
When I removed it at the end of the trip, I found to my horror it was damaged. It had rammed into the seat mechanism during the bumpy flight. Though I still cherish it to this day, it’s just not the same since it’s been chipped. I tried turning it sideways on the shelf, but that looks like the cat bumped it. The pride I’d have in pointing to it now is somewhat dimmed by its damaged appearance.
Even my wife, who was so proud of me winning the award, has slowly exiled it over the years. It started out displayed in the living room (with the damaged side artfully turned away from view). Then it was on top of the piano. Now it’s on my bedside table. So much for my “glory days.”
We have the same problem with trying to shove Jesus into one small little corner of our lives. He simply won’t fit—he is too big and grand and glorious for just a dusty spot on the mantle of your life.
I’ve noticed lots of people display their “Jesus” just like a trophy. They put him on display when it’s Sunday, or when the pastor stops by. But they’re sure to hide him away somewhere when his presence might throw a wet blanket on the party.
You have to be careful displaying your “Mini-Jesus.” Some people are impressed by a little “Jesus” in your life, but others are offended by even the slightest glimpse of him anywhere in view. So you’d better be careful and place him somewhere not too conspicuous—like behind that potted plant, for instance.
Might better just put him by the bedside table. Religion is a “personal thing”, right? Like a rash, I suppose…
I find it ironic we could ever deal so cavalierly with Someone so worthy of everything we are. He is truly the “Pearl of Great Price” whom the merchant sold everything he had in order to possess. So how comical when we take that same Jesus and stuff him in a bedroom drawer of our lives, next to that one glove without a mate and the old broken watch.
Are we becoming the very “swine” we were warned not to cast our pearls toward?
As arrogant as it may sound, if you truly knew this God who’s gracious enough to call a scoundrel like me his friend…if you had any concept of his beauty and worthiness, you’d be willing to give up everything.
I’m talking hold nothing back, “Sell the farm, Katie,” bar the door, both barrels, full steam ahead, going out of business sale, everything must go.
If you really know him, you’d do anything, give up anything just to spend a moment in his presence.
So whatever you do, please don’t try to fit him into your life. If you do, you’ll inevitably destroy a beauty so transforming, it will recreate you into a completely new kind of person. Instead, you end up with a damaged, distorted image of the real Jesus. A freak show version of something truly brilliant.
Please don’t try to fit him in your life. That “trophy” is a damaged atrocity best left hidden behind closed doors and bedroom drawers.
Dave Gipson is a husband, father of 4 adopted children and one biological child, former foster parent, and pastor at Naples Family Church of Naples, FL. An author, Dave's new highly acclaimed book, "The Seven Surprises: Everyday Epiphanies on Being a Better Human Being," is now available. He also contributes regular commentaries to the Naples Daily News as well as other international publications. He has served churches for the last 25+ years, from Florida to the inner-city of Chicago. Rev. Gipson holds his ordination in the Southern Baptist denomination, and has two earned Masters degrees in Religion and Divinity. Read more at http://davegipson.net.Follow him on Twitter at @realdavegipson.