(by Adam Norlander)
What could be more challenging than writing a blog post after Pastor Kim’s mic drop in the previous blog post? Oh, what an unfair challenge! I jest, but only in part. There is a seemingly herculean task confronting every minister of the Word whenever it is time to prepare a blog, a study, or a sermon. What can I do or say that will have any real or lasting impact on the world? In a nation that is so inundated with media, obligations, and words we barely take time to finish a sentence before we swipe to the next. This predicament becomes even more pronounced as we dive into the Christmas season, a time when the pace of life accelerates to near unimaginable and unmanageable speed. In 2 Corinthians 4:18 it states, “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” This is a healthy, God centered way of not just making it through the busy holiday season, but actually experiencing the love and joy of the Jesus’ birth. Take the time to focus on Christ and on the astounding life-shaking truth that not only did the birth, life, and death of our Savior bring us life, but also that this precious Christmas gift is not just temporal; it is everlasting. I have been given the greatest gift imaginable, a gift that cost my God everything. I sit here, having received it, almost awkwardly thinking, “What did I get Him?”
Have you ever received as amazing and expensive gift from someone and, after opening it, your joy is squelched because you can’t stop thinking about the piddly gift you got them? A $2 card you bought and signed at the gas station, with the $7 you found in your pocket. What seemed to be decent now seems embarrassing.
So, what exactly am I giving my Jesus on His birthday? We are blessed to not have to earn the love or favor of our God. In the words of the “Little Drummer Boy,” a Christmas classic, “Little baby, I am a poor boy, too. I have no gift to bring that’s fit for a King.” The Little Drummer Boy wanted desperately to give his infant king a gift worthy of who He was; he found that the only thing he had was a God-given talent of drumming. So, what did the boy do? He got his best drum and he played his best for his king.
As the song concludes, “Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.” We see our Jesus pleased with the gift, as simple as it is. The message is clear: Jesus has created us unique, gifted (Psalms 139:13) and designed for a purpose (Jer. 29:11). That life purpose, the cry of our hearts, and the thing that animates us most should be the same: to make our Jesus smile.
When our Jesus returns, not as an infant king but instead as the exact image of our great God, clothed in power and majesty, He will stand over you and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” This brings joy to my heart and a tear to my eye. I just want my Jesus to be pleased with my life, with my gift, with my “drumming”.
This Christmas season, I would encourage you to think on that, not just as a familiar Christian message, but practically. What does this mean for me? Our time here on this earth is short and we don’t know how much of it we will actually have. We have this one life to serve our King. We have this one life to make an impact on the world for Him. And we only have this one life to make Him smile.
In America, we take for granted that we will live to be 80 or older. This may be what saps our motivation and allows us to think, “Next year I will read my bible, next year I will pray more, next year I will get involved in ministry, and next year I will play my drum and make my Jesus smile.” But, from Proverbs to James, we are reminded over and over to never take tomorrow for granted. We don’t know if we have twenty more years or even twenty more days. From the 15th -19th centuries the life expectancy of people was between 30 and 40 years. If I lived then, they would call out to me, “Hey, Ol’ Timer!” If you are 18 today, you would then be middle aged. Those people, had ½ or a 1/3 the time that we ideally have to carry out their God given task; as much time as I already have lived, they had to fulfill their purpose and make their Jesus smile. I was given today as a gift, and have been warned to not worry or think about tomorrow. I have only today to play my drum. I have only today to share the love and joy of Christ. I have today, to get on my knees and pour out my devotion on the feet of my Jesus. In God’s economy, what we do today is rewarded for eternity in heaven. We store up gifts and treasures to be enjoyed forever. How much time do I have to prepare my eternity? I don’t know. Live today and everyday animated by the desire to make your Jesus smile, and never assume that there are 40 more Christmas seasons on the horizon. Play your drum today. Play your drum in such a way as to make your Jesus smile.
(Quietly slides the mic back into its stand)
(by Adam Norlander)