The other day, we were having lunch and telling someone our story. As we’re talking, it dawns on me. No wonder we sometimes get these “looks” as we’re talking. We sound crazy. Crazy because we’re adopting. Crazy because we (well, I right now… and Evan someday) go on mission trips to love on orphans. Crazy because we’re doing all of this because of something we felt in our hearts. Crazy because this isn’t how normal people live out the American Dream.
And for the first time in my life, I’m okay with crazy.
To be honest, I hate being abnormal. All I’ve ever wanted my whole life is a “normal” life. I strive to blend in, fit in, be in. But more and more, I don’t like what “in” is, what “in” means. I am convinced that a nice car, a big house, stuff (whatever I supposed I thought that was)…it just doesn’t matter in the long run. And that’s not what Jesus would want us to be pursuing as we live as Christ-followers. It’s not that that stuff is inherently bad (it isn’t), but for me, it’s a distraction. It gets in the way of us living out this God-calling.
Yesterday, I served as a World Vision Child Ambassador volunteer. On Wednesday, the area manager had sent out an email asking for volunteers to staff an event on Saturday in Daytona. Evan was working and I didn’t have anything going on until the afternoon, so I decided to go. It was at a beauty pageant, and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it’s exactly like you would expect. Little kids (boys and girls), dressed up, wearing make-up, strutting in their pageant wear. Wigs, curlers, sequins everywhere.
I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to tell anyone about child sponsorship, and many of the folks I had the opportunity to talk to had never heard of World Vision, so I hope my next comment doesn’t come out condescending. I couldn’t help but notice the dichotomy between the toddlers in their make up and little sequin dresses and the faces of the impoverished children in our folders. It hurt my heart. Here, in the U.S., we can spend our money on making our children look beautiful, while children all around the world face hunger, no/little education, poor health, and violence and war. Our children get to wear make-up and have their hair done up in curls while these children have to struggle to find water. Again, I’m not here to criticize the beauty pageant, but I wonder, if that’s all there is, what is the point?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to radical living. It’s as if Jesus said, “What the world (and religion) values, encourages, and does, I don’t. Following me ups the ante on how you live life.” Reading through those chapters in Matthew, I’m struck how hard Christ-following living really is. And it looks crazy to me. Jesus begins this teaching by blessing a bunch of people that the world considers “losers” or those who “don’t have what it takes” or the “crazies”:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
-Jesus in Matthew 5:3-12
There are a number of really smart people who have tried to understand and comment on Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes. I’m not going to pretend to be one of those people. But if I added my two cents, I would say that Jesus is telling us to live contrary to how society and culture tell us to live. Live for God and what God desires. If you “make it on earth”, you’ll get a reward here on earth. Our world doesn’t value nor reward the things that God desires or calls beautiful.
So we’ll be crazy. We’ll keep pursuing the things that God wants. And we’ll probably continue to get looks. Because we’re crazy about the things God wants us to be crazy about.
That’s the point.