My favorite cartoon is Calvin and Hobbes. He was imagining the world after the monster under the bed had eaten him and left a pile of bones. He quotes his parents as saying “And still, it was fitting that as he was this world a-quitting, he should leave another mess as he went out.”
Most pastors will agree that it is the “messy” children, the ones who cause a lot of trouble, who go on to do great things for the Lord. It isn’t just that they, “grow out of it” but that God loves and uses passionate people but these are the ones who also make a mess as they proceed.
I once pastored a church that had wonderful facilities for children but the oldtimers hated it when the facility was used to minister to children because they always made such a mess.
We are so terrified of doing things imperfectly that we don’t do much at all. I am alway fascinated when asking people to name the Great Lakes, that they would rather say “I don’t know” and guarantee seeming ignorant instead of venturing a guess. When they then ask what the lake was, and I tell them, they say, “I was thinking that.” You will always have a better chance of serving God and the kingdom if you try messily than if you don’t try at all.
Look at our ancestors Adam and Eve: messy! messy! but God went ahead and started this whole thing knowing they would mess it up. Must have thought it worth doing anyhow.. Noah, by faith, saved the world but then got drunk. Moses had a terrible temper and would often get overwhelmed and suicidal “God why don’t you just kill me.” David had one of his best friends killed in order to cover up his own sin. We make the mistake of printing biographies of people that God used greatly but these biographies portray them as flawless. THEY ALL MADE MESSES! Now if God could use them despite deliberate sin, fear, doubt and often downright ignorance and stupidity; maybe he could use us despite shyness or stuttering or physical weakness or appearance issues or lack of education or knowledge. I say jump in and make a mess and learn as you go. I certainly have no trouble with the make a mess part.
I am always talking to myself in these blogs and am thrilled if others can relate. I know that I need to serve God to the best of my ability but not to put of doing blogs or posts until I feel that I have mastered the art, have all the theology perfect, the perfect examples, the perfect length.
As I have mentioned before, I was not raised by others but raised myself. All of a sudden I found myself with my own children and with no model of how to do this important job. If you asked my children, they would tell you that despite many “messy” shortcomings that, overall, they had a decent childhood. This would be by the grace of God and my knowing that I didn’t know and being open to feedback..
We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
God loves to use our messiness to emphasize WHO gets the glory.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of honor but some to dishonor. 2 Timothy 2:20
I grew up in India and our house was full of all kinds of vessels. The ugly cheep ones were the most useful and needed!
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves even to think correctly but God! 2 Corinthians 3:5,6
The greatest and probably most valuable and most difficult types of humility to learn is to not lean on my own understanding. Do you feel shy, can’t talk, don’t know how to pray eloquently? Great! God gets extra credit and glory when you obey because everyone will know he did it! I just can’t understand the Christians who are so full of pride that they won’t read scripture or pray in Sunday school classes for fear the quality of their performance will be judged by others. It probably will! But so what? Do it unto the lord.
God does not call many wise, mighty, or noble. Instead, he calls you and me: weak, base, despised, nothings. Why? So no man should glory in his presence. But I am in Christ Jesus who is my wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So let’s show him off by jumping in messily and imperfectly to show off what he can do with nothing.
I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling, that your faith should not stand on mans wisdom but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1: 20-2:5
I often re-read these blogs after I have published them and see typo’s or better ways to word them. Still, if I waited till I felt they were perfect–you’d never get a blog. I had a student once studying psychiatry who was already a radiologist but had to quit due to perfectionism and now was failing psychiatry. He could pass the test but was useless to anyone else because he was trying to be too perfect. Don’t compare! The Bible says all comparison is foolishness.
I once went to a week long seminar on being a perfect everything. Feeling overwhelmed, I imperfectly skipped and took an afternoon and wrote out what it would take to be a perfect (according to my messy best understanding) father, husband, friend, worker, church member etc. There simply wasn’t enough time in the day and the scriptures say Psalms 127 “let it go and get a good nights’ sleep. So I jump in and do it messily, leave to outcome to God and try to learn as I go.