How’s the View Up There?


  Last week was an amazing week in my blogging life.  I had more posts than usual and more comments from you all than usual.  I wrote five posts on marriage/love and had a blast doing it.  I love that topic and apparently so do most of you.  But this week I was having Brain Drain.  Last week seemed to be so easy, the thoughts and ideas just flowed.  Today, I was trying to come up with something to write, which really isn’t my thing.  I write about what I feel I should write about.  Things and ideas just pop into my head (it’s a God thing).  But today I found myself forcing ideas.  I even started writing one.  It stunk.  I deleted it.  All of a sudden God spoke to me.  “Shawn, you haven’t spent time with me today.”  “But God, I really need to get my blog done so I can tell people about what I’ve experienced with You today.”  Let me stop there and ask, D'oh!“Anyone doing the Homer Simpson slap on the forehead and saying, “D’oh!”?  Yeah, I figured you were.  Anyway, to make a short story long, I stopped, deleted what I had and sat down for some God Time.  I have been reading Matthew lately (when I remember to spend time with God) and today was chapter 16.  As I read, three things did the “Holy Highlight” and jumped out at me.  So, now I have three blogs for this week, all in the same chapter.  Ain’t God cool?

On to the post-mountain_top

  Anyone ever been involved with some kind of amazing God Thing?  God did something so incredible and you got to be a part of it?  You’re on a Spiritual High, if you will, and you feel like everything is just perfect.  Some Christians call it the Mountain Top Experience, the pinnacle of life.  I’ve been there a few times, I was there last week with how many people the marriage posts touched.  The problem with “Mountain Top” experiences is that on the other side of that peak is a steep drop into the valley.  Generally, after an amazing God Moment, there is a letdown because life get’s in the way.  God doesn’t let us down, but rather we do something or someone else does something that pulls us down.  Why?  Why can’t we stay on the mountain top?  Why can’t we live there? 

Let’s look at our passage-

5 Jesus’ followers went across the lake, but they had forgotten to bring bread. 6 Jesus said to them, "Be careful! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."

7 His followers discussed the meaning of this, saying, "He said this because we forgot to bring bread."

8 Knowing what they were talking about, Jesus asked them, "Why are you talking about not having bread? Your faith is small. 9 Do you still not understand? Remember the five loaves of bread that fed the five thousand? And remember that you filled many baskets with the leftovers?10 Or the seven loaves of bread that fed the four thousand and the many baskets you filled then also? 11 I was not talking to you about bread. Why don’t you understand that? I am telling you to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." 12 Then the followers understood that Jesus was not telling them to beware of the yeast used in bread but to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.                   Matthew 16:5-12 (New Century Version) Emphasis Mine

This passage is mainly about Jesus trying to teach His disciples to be careful of the religious leaders teachings at that time- they had a “work for your salvation” belief but Jesus teaches salvation by grace or as a free gift.  The religious leaders wanted a sign and Jesus was teaching faith.  But I don’t want to focus on that right now, I want to focus on the background story, what the disciples were worried about.  In the chapter before this one, chp. 15, Jesus had just used the disciples to miraculously feed 5,000 men plus women and children.  Estimates put it at over 10,000 people.  He did this with, according to Matthew 15:34, seven loaves of bread and a few small fish.  Not only did He feed them but there was leftovers!  I love leftovers, food is usually better the second day!

Amazing!  Miraculous! Astounding!  Truly a Mountain Top experience for the disciples.  But now, just a few days later here they are arguing and worried about who forgot to bring food.  After witnessing Jesus feed 10,000 people with the equivalent of seven Mc Donald’s Happy Meals (minus the cheap toy) they’re worried about food. 

So why can’t we stay on the Mountain?  Why the Slipn Slide ride to the bottom?

There are three reasons that i can think of.  Untitled

First, sin.  This is never a good reason.  If you’re on a real mountain top and you trip bad things can happen.  Several years ago I took a youth group to a retreat in the Rockies.  We hiked up a mountain.  It was awesome.  As we started to come down we came across some ice patches and the guides we had with us told us it was ok to slide down them.  A bunch of us did it and we were having a blast.  But one gal slipped and got out of control and couldn’t stop herself.  Unfortunately the rocks at the bottom did.  It tore her up pretty bad.  She healed but it wasn’t pretty at the time.  While she didn’t “sin” she did loose control and experienced the same wreck at the end that sin causes.  cloud9v1

The second reason may be that no one could stand to be around us for very long.  Ever run into that person that is on Cloud 9?  You know, the one that won’t stop going on about how amazing it is and how they are perfectly happy with everything?  Yeah, me too, their annoying.  How can we relate to folks if we aren’t with them?  Spending time with God is awesome but the fact is we are still in this world and people are hurting and need a shoulder to cry on.   So maybe God leads us down the mountain so we can help others.

manureThe third reason is a little less poetic.  My Mom plants.  She plants flowers, veggies, fruits, everything.  If you ask her she will tell you plants need several things to grow, mainly, sun, water and good soil.  It’s the last one that is key though.  Good soil.  How do you get good soil?  You fertilize it.  What’s fertilizer? Manure, aka- poop!  On the mountaintop you get a lot of sun and some water, what you don’t get is good, poop-filled soil.  That’s because it all collects at the bottom of the mountain, the valley.  So maybe that’s why we can’t stay up there forever- no manure.  No soil to grow roots.  Roots provide nourishment, roots provide stability. 

Summing it all up-

Watch out for sins ability to trip you up and start an out-of-control slide to the bottom.

If your head’s always in the clouds how can people reach you and with all the clouds in your eyes how can you see them?

No manure, No roots, No growth.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Great post. I’m going to respond to the ‘mountain top’ experience issue. 20 years ago my friend and I would sometimes run into believers who were clearly on a mountaintop. It happened a couple of times. The common denominators with these guys was that they were deeply in love with Jesus and were saying something really goofy. My friend and I looked at each other and said, ‘Two years.” When the person asked we explained that we were aware that they have been walking with God two years or less. We were right. People who have been walking with God longer than that generally don’t have those really highly emotional experiences. Generally. There are exceptions.

    I think its probably something like falling in love. I love my wife. I think she’s beautiful, smart, funny and generally amazing. But I don’t feel the intense ‘in love’ feelings I did when we were first married. I feel a deeper love that comes from lots of time and a deep knowledge of how she operates. I used to get butterflies when she came into the room. I don’t anymore. I don’t love her less. I love her more, just differently. Better, I think.

    We can’t sustain intense emotion for a long period of time. We were not made to. It would wear us out and we’d never get anything done.

    But sometimes both in my walk with God and my relationship with my wife I am surprised to become aware of an intense joy and the kind of emotions I experienced all those years ago. I no longer need them…my love and relationship do not depend on them. I can handle them now without freaking out. And its ecstasy.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Dave. Wise words from a wise man!
    ShawnH

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