Monday, July 20, 2009

Israel, Kings, and Nike Shoes

1 Samuel 8 is one of those moments in the Old Testament where everything changes.

Samuel the prophet is old, nearing his grave. His sons have strayed and live for their stomachs rather than their God. The people of Israel are in disarray. Nations around them must be doing alright. After all, the grass is always greener in Philistine lands.

The people of Israel ask...check that...demand to Samuel that God give them a king to lead them.

God grants the plea...though His heart is broken and betrayal has angered him. God warns what will happen with a king, that a king will control everything, take their land, their possessions, their freedoms. But the people do not relent. They want a King.

I've been there...only not with the monarchial status of a nation, but with Nike Shoes.

7th and 8th grade are awkward years. I remember wanting to be defined as "IN"...popular...accepted. There was only one way to do that...What was the one common denominator of all those who were deemed 'cool' or 'acceptable'. It was obvious...Nike Shoes. So when it came time for the annual Growth Spurt Shopping Trip, I had to make my plea clear and steadfast. No more WalMart or KMart shoes...It is time that my coolness blossomed. "This is the year of Nike Shoes." I made a 5 point apologetic appeal that even Aristotle's Rhetoric couldn't achieve and wouldn't you know it, my parents relented and spent 60 extra bucks for a swoosh.

Nike Shoes it was. (Of course as you could guess...the shoes failed to deliver me from mediocre coolness levels.)

We know the story of the Israelites, don't we? Why is it that we are soooo desperate to fit in and be accepted with those around us? Why do we so adamantly try to make extinct being distinct?

God has fashioned his bride for amazing things. His church is to be the answer to the world's problems and heartaches. Yet the more the Church tries to resemble the rest of the world, the more she becomes an agent of those problems and heartaches rather than the answer to them.

I've been stuck on the same question for months. If the Church is indeed the embodiment of the Hope for Resurrection, then shouldn't we care about the things and people the world could care less about? Shouldn't we look vastly different from the rest of the world?

It's time to throw away the Nike's and exhaust our lives in getting our feet dirty for others.

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