Friday, July 14, 2006

Non-Profit Mailers: One Upping God

So, I just found out that my church doesn't yet have non-profit mailer status. This is simply because when we first started, a lot of what we were doing didn't fall into traditional non-profit mailing categories. I did some checking, and it looks like we could now get a significant portion of our mail umbrellad under the non-profit status. My mind started to think, "How much could we have saved?" After all, we are stewards of God's money, representatives of the kingdom, and dang it, we always talk about what we could do in the future if we had more money. The church (in general) has really gotten good at figuring out how much it costs to reach people.

So we then compound the start up status with complicated postal regulations. For many things, it is more expensive to mail using non-profit status than normal status, because you have to affix a label to items.... BY HAND! Labels are expensive!

The fact is, meeting government regulations is hard most of the time. We as people are pretty good at creating over complicated rules that impede progress and limit each other's freedoms. Think about the last time you thought a law was stupid. That attests to the fact that we as humans don't always do a good job coming up with "right" things to do."

Ironically, in all of this searching throgh regulations, I'm coming to a place of remembrance of what God did for me in my life a few years ago when I was pretty much a guilt-racked Christian limiting what I could do in life. After backsliding and going through major personal problems stemming from me running away from my call to ministry, I decided that I needed to pursue a secular degree in computer science rather than go after my ministry degree as I felt called to by God. My logic was that I needed to prove to God that I could follow Him even if I wasn't in ministry. For this fish, that was tantamount to a proclamation that I could swim even if I wasn't in water!

You see, it was easier for me to feel like I was paying a penance and to plan to deal with personal issues long term than it was for me to accept Jesus' penance and deal with issues now. At the time, a part of me thought that by not going into ministry, I was sacrificially obeying God. God though, isn't interested in sacrifice - unless that sacrifice is laced with justice. God isn't interested in sacrifice - unless that sacrifice is pure and 100% whole. Just like no man can pay for the sins weighing on his soul - because his sins make him unworthy - no man can pay for the guilt he bears with his own actions. Seinfeld had an interesting label for folks that always have to do things themselves, or can never stand to admit that someone else is better than them (and as a result always try to come back and be the number 1 at something): a one upper.

That's what I was trying to do: One up God. I wasn't really trying to pay for anything. I knew I couldn't! I wasn't trying to show a pattern of obedience. I rationalized my calling away! I was trying to one-up God instead of letting God one-up me (ooh, an old school nintendo reference. If you don't get it, 1 up means you get an extra life in game).

What ways are you trying to one up God? Do you avoid the now and dream of the future - wasting time? Do you feel there is something that you have to do before you're worthy of God's love, of His plan for you?

I'm here to tell you that one upping God just leads to misery. It leads to being out of the environment God created you to be in - because where every other creature besides man lives in a 3d environment, man lives in the 4d environment of the now. We have to be in more than the right place, we have to be in the right time. And despite our one-upper nature, only God can bring all the d's together to form the environment of his will.

So, if you're a one-upper... ah... well, there is a song for this. No there's not. There's a line:
'Stop, collaborate and listen." Except it would be better without the collaborate. Stop, and listen. God is telling you exactly where to go. Don't pay too much postage to get there.

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