I enjoyed most of the Get Motivated seminar. I was impressed with the emphasis on fatherhood, respect, and integrity. I appreciate the opportunity to have heard the likes of Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Bill Cosby all within a few hours. I do wish they would have left God out of it, though. Doesn’t that sound like a strange thing for a Christian to say? Here’s my beef; I feel like several of them were taking the Lord’s name in vain and perverting the Gospel. Here’s what I mean:
When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners.
“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.
I was very bothered how the polar opposite of this message was preached over and over. The main theme I heard was, “The Bible says ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Do your best to improve yourself and find God’s purpose in life – which is obviously playing the stock market to get rich so you can bless your family and enjoy a life of luxury.”
The Bible does NOT say that, and I remember Jesus’ charge to be quite to the contrary. Remember the rich young ruler? To follow Jesus means to count the cost – to be willing to give up everything in total trust and surrender to Him AND to expect (an rejoice in) persecution and suffering for His sake. Notice how in Luke 5, the disciples didn’t sell the insane amount of fish He gave them to create a comfortable nest egg for their families before they “left everything”? That would have made the most logical sense, right? But the abundant life is an adventure with Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit where we trust and follow His plans.
I’m all for wise planning and stewardship; that’s Biblical. But God’s wisdom is so much higher than ours. I’m a Dave Ramsey nut myself, but I do NOT want to “improve”, “believe in”, or “trust” myself. I know my wicked nature too well.