سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
It's how I cope, sometimes. I'm feeling discouraged in my fundraising, or I've had a hard day at a Good News Club, or things just aren't going how I feel like they should. So I go to the World Race website. And I open up the most recent blog posts. And as I immerse myself in the last one hundred updates from Racers all over the world - posts about spiritual insights, pictures of people thousands of miles away - I find myself living vicariously.
I find a little bit of myself going to those people, being with them as they experience this journey. I don't know them, but I'm content to sit here and observe the Race through their eyes. In fact, while I want to go do the Race someday, it's sort of a distant thing, something I'll do one of these days, when I get the money, and I grow up, and I'm wiser, and I'll be able to pour out my own spiritual revelations.
I'm finding that vicarious living is kind of draining.
This morning, our youth pastor taught on people who don't want to grow up. Part of it was about how we should avoid "defaulting" into life. He used his iPhone as an example. There's a button on there that you can use to return your phone to the factory presets: every original setting that was put into place by a programmer in some distant Apple factory, every picture, every minute detail, will return to what it was before you took it up in your hand. And sometimes, we can do that. We can hit some mental button in our mind and "default" our lives. Or as my pastor put it this evening: we just coast along. Instead of running our race, we've decided it would be a lot easier to put on roller skates and let our momentum carry us along lazily, in no particular direction.
Some of us don't pay any attention to those who are doing things. They're the crazies, those radicals who actually take things like "Rescue the Perishing" and such things seriously. Some say they're just running on emotion, that what they have isn't real, that once they get home, they'll peter out and never be heard from again. Might that be true for some? Most certainly. But not for all.
And are we any better? We've consigned ourselves to living vicariously. We let what others do be enough for us. Yes, we have spurts of activity where we try to meet the mark for the Perfect Christian. We go to church more, we participate in more church activities, we might even go door-knocking or help out with children's ministry. We'll join the choir, or help out with making meals for a sick family. We'll commit to reading through our Bible in a year, and start out great.
But then we'll start looking around, and see Bro. Jack, who is so perfect. He goes on visitation not once but twice a week. He goes door-knocking on Sunday afternoons, and has a Saturday night ministry to those who go downtown. His wife is perfect, his teenagers are both trendy, modest, and great Christians. So we stop doing what we're doing, telling ourselves, "Well, I can't really be a good Christian, because I'm not as good as Bro. Jack. And anyway, since Bro. Jack is doing all that, why should I do anything? I'll just watch him, maybe learn a little, then someday I'll get out there."
So we hit the default button, strap on our roller skates, and start living vicariously.
We've become a whole church of people who live vicariously.
We let others live out the life of a Christian. We dream of what it would look like to be a member of an "Acts church," but we do nothing about it. We schedule revivals in the hope that the Holy Spirit will come upon us, though we don't let him guide us. I've decided that isn't enough for me anymore.
I don't want to live vicariously anymore.
I don't want to hit the default button.
I don't want to strap on my skates and take the easy way.
I don't want to watch others do, I want to do myself!
Is there anything wrong with taking wisdom from those who are learning so much? Of course not. The problem comes when that's all I'm doing, when I'm not reaching out myself to the poor and hungry and broken.
The problem comes when I'm not doing my part for the Kingdom.
The problem comes when it doesn't hurt me to think about those who are dying, lost in their sins.
The problem comes when I can quietly sit down, read about the great things being done for God, and not be moved and heartbroken and convicted and urged to go and do and be!
The problem comes when we're content to live vicariously, when we don't notice it, and it doesn't bother us. When we can sit back and live a normal life, and never feel an inner conviction of what we should be doing.
Our pastor continued this evening, talking about Paul. In the beginning of Romans 9, Paul is talking about his greatest sorrow. Verse 3 says:
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren...
Paul's burden was so great, that he would have been willing to cast himself away from Christ for the sake of the lost. Why, then, do I make such a big deal about my little comforts? Why is it that I'm content to sit here and live vicariously, never thinking of others?
Let me never be content to live vicariously.
Let me take life as it comes.
Let me be guided by the Holy Spirit that dwells within me.
Let me make my own life
And may it be a life worthy of my king.