Sometimes, You Should Spare the Rod


I once saw an interview with Lady Gaga.  When asked to account for her fame, she simply explained that she studied it. All of her antics: the raw meat mini skirt, the strange ova that I still don’t understand are all the calculated effort of a brilliant woman who cracked the code of fame and fortune.  Her theory of  wearing strange outfits, doing bizarre things on stage, and making people talk, seems to work

But not for me.

I once shoved my less than slim nine-year-old body into a burnt orange jumpsuit, strapped a tail to it, and crawled across the stage while my classmates sang “In the Jungle.”  I once performed a tap dance in a giant foam candy bar outfit that cut off all circulation to my arms. I looked like a Pez dispenser and was about as entertaining as one.  I even joined Odyssey of the Mind: a problem solving tournament for youth (imagine an event a little less geeky than a StarWars convention with balsa wood instead of legos).  My team had to create a drama based on an impressionist painting.  The high(or perhaps low)light of my role involved hitting a hidden button in a sheer costume bottom that triggered a lightbulb and illuminated my rear end.  We got bonus points for use of technology.

My history is full of bizarre performances, yet I have less than forty people who read my blog. I don’t even twitter. Perhaps it has to do with my complete lack of talent; singing or otherwise.  Surely, fame and fortune are nowhere in my future, and my children now bear my curse.

At their school christmas pageant my daughter’s role was to move the palm tree.  Twice.  My son auditioned for a speaking part but couldn’t keep beat on the wise men’s rap nor a straight face when the shepherds cracked sheep jokes.  He got a token understudy role that, short of an Ebola outbreak, was more of a consolation prize than a real possibility.

I entered him in a “cutest kid” contest this week.  He’s losing to the kid crying on Santa’s lap.  My daughter took a fashion class at the Art Center in town.  During the fashion show she got stuck in the dress she sewed and never made it out of the dressing room for the final catwalk.  My son’s class will do a rendition of “The Giving Tree” on Wednesday. He, of course, will be the guy who cuts down the kind and loving tree.

If not fame and fortune, song and dance, what then is my role?  What do I tell my children about their future performance?

Moses was a man with a role.  He was to represent God to the people and lead them through the wilderness.  As glamorous as that sounds, it was no easy task.  He brought the Ten Commandments to the people only to find them worshipping a golden calf they made of nose rings.  In his frustration, he threw the tablets on the ground destroying what God had spoken.  So he had climb the mountain again, receive the commands again, bring those commands to the people again.  Because though they messed up, God still wanted to speak, God still loved them.  Moses had to do all again, because he represented God and God will not repent of nor destroy what He has said.

The people whined and complained, they were not satisfied.  God told Mo to speak to the rock, told him that water would spew forth to quench their.   The murmuring got the better of Mo and he struck the rock with his rod.  God was displeased.  Not with the whiney and ungrateful people, but with Moses.  He represented God and when he struck the rock he made the people think that God was angry with them when He was not.

Jesus overturned the tables in the temple because the Pharisees who were supposed to represent God, robbed the people as though God was more interested in their belongings than in them.  The Pharisees made it difficult to get to God, when God wanted everyone to draw near.

I may never emerge from an egg on National television, but I do have a role.  God has asked me, if I truly believe Him, to represent him.  Christianity is full of people asking for money and standing on street corners telling entire populations that God hates them.  They beat the rock, when God has asked them to spare the rod.

God desires true faith to return the grace that it has received.  It is easy to not stand on a street corner with a sign.  It is much more difficult to express kindness to those who whine and complain against me.  It is easy to close my hands and ask for nothing. It is much more difficult to speak long-suffering and truth to those who mock me.  No matter how right I might be, God is still reaching out in love.  And so should I.  It will not bring me fame nor fortune, but it will bring God to those who need Him most.

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