stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

I love to be entertained.  I really do.  I can go from TV show to TV show, clear through entire seasons of shows on Netflix with binge watching, read entire novels in a week while still working and going to school, and fill the in between times with listening to sports radio as I come and go.  Now, I should probably clarify that this isn’t my everyday lifestyle.  This happens, as entertainment gets its hooks in me, and I get sucked into all it has to offer me.  And entertainment in of itself is good.  It is not bad.  But too much entertainment can change our expectation, our attention spans, and our priorities.  It can shift the way we view very important aspects of our lives, including our families, our friends, and even God.  If entertainment becomes the number one thing you seek, you’re not long for the Christian life.  Do you know why?  Jesus isn’t an entertainer.

In John 6, people were totally into Jesus.  He fed them, which they liked, and even better, He fed thousands of them with one boy’s lunch.  They’re were thinking, “This Dude’s for real.  He’s the prophet we’ve been expecting.  Look what He did for us!”  This wasn’t the first miracle He had done, not even in their presence.  He had amassed a following, because He was making wine, healing people, and casting out demons, plus He was really unnerving the religious leaders, who probably annoyed them all.  He was popular, and He was entertaining, and now that He had given them something tangible – food – He was absolutely the guy to follow, so they’re fixing to force kingship on Him.  But He slips away.

The next day, they come looking for Him, surprised to have found Him on the other side of a lake, since the disciples had taken the only boat.  But here He is, so they ask Him to help them do miracles just like Him.  They found him entertaining and wanted to do some pretty cool stuff themselves, but He tells them that they just need to believe in Him.  So they ask for a sign, because they were a sign-seeking people.  And Jesus cuts to the chase: I didn’t come to perform signs and miracles; I came from Heaven to save you.  That’s it.  And the people were confused and frustrated, because He stopped being entertaining and went straight to teaching hard truths.  And they ultimately cannot understand or get down with what He’s teaching, and they walk away.  They could understand a miracle: something that was not now is.  This is great!  But they couldn’t understand the spiritual relevance or meaning of His teachings.  They were frustrated and confused, so they quit.

Jesus is awesome.  I mean, He is God, so this is a given.  And He does some really incredible things.  He’s done them in my life.  Maybe He’s done them in yours.  But that’s not His purpose, and it’s not always what He does.  But He is always Truth, and He always speaks the Truth, and that can frustrate and confuse us.  It can be unsettling to us when it differs from what we thought or hoped to be true.  Sometimes He leads us through refining fire, which is anything but fun entertainment.  Jesus is not an entertainer; He is God, and if we follow Him, waiting for the next big thing to happen, we may walk away just like those disciples did when His teaching got tough.  Don’t be entertained by Him.  Be changed by Him.

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