“There's a difference, you know, between faith and playing make-believe. One will make you grow. The other one will make you sleep.”
― Rich Mullins
As churches sit closed around the world, is now a good time to ask, are you a ragamuffin or a cupcake?
One of the things I miss most during these changing times is being able to wander through op shops (thrift stores). I love finding unexpected treasures. The hunt to find a bargain or a fun gift for someone else. In the weeks leading up to them closing, I collected an interesting selection of books.
The book that has inspired this article is “The Signature of Jesus” by Brennan Manning. After briefly reading the back cover for the price they were asking it sounded like an interesting read.
Days later when I finally started reading it I had a light bulb moment. Earlier in the year, I’d stumbled across the movie “Ragamuffin” the story of Rich Mullins. While in the op shop I hadn’t realised who the author of the book was. It was Brennan Manning one of the pivotal people in Rich’s journey. If you don’t know Rich’s music he was one of the biggest names in Christian music in the 80’s and 90’s. His songs were recorded by some of the other biggest names then, and now.
He lived a life more like John the Baptist than a musical superstar. Not afraid to ask the hard questions and be real and authentic, rather than present the image expected of him. So at this time when our churches are closed, I ask myself am I a ragamuffin or a cupcake?
Am I truly willing to submit everything in my life to live for God? Beyond what people see on a Sunday morning how much substance is behind that nice looking exterior?
So much of what we took for granted has been stripped from us which gives us the unique opportunity to re-evaluate what is important in our lives. Before the lockdown where we really living as Jesus did, or were we too busy with everything we had filled our lives with?
I felt challenged by both the book and the movie as to what was I really doing with my life. The years I have, the minutes in each day, how many of them am I spending on suring up my own future, versus helping those that may live a little longer with some more love in their life.
How much was I showing grace to those crying themselves to sleep at night because they have never experienced the true meaning of the word, grace? With isolation and social distancing being mandated by governments around the world this is our opportunity to reach out and touch those most in need.
Who in your street has run out of toilet paper or flour while you have a month's supply?
Who in your circle of friends that’s currently afraid of dying if they leave their house may cry tears of joy because you deliver a home cooked meal or a box of groceries?
How many of your contacts have you actually called this week and had an honest conversation with?
2020 can be a defining moment in our history. Will we enter 2021 an even more fractured society or will we rediscover something that we’ve slowly allowed the technology revolution erode from our lives?
I’ve been thankful for those who have stepped up in my life in the last few weeks. It’s also surprised me the difficulty some have accepting gifts freely given with no strings attached. Let’s make 2020 the year where we forget about the perception and get back to the person.
If you are reading this you are probably better off than the majority in our world. What will you do with your abundance before it’s too late?
“The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart -- it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that benefits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice -- it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.”
― Rich Mullins
Next Month: Are we there yet?
Neville Hiatt was the 2020 Press Services International Tronson Senior Writers Award Winner for Australia. His previous posts for can be read here.
He spent a decade working for Radio Stations before his career was intermissioned by someone in a hurry to get home from work. For more of his award winning creativity visit http://nevillehiatt.com.
He also blogs for http://altcoincollege.com/covering the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are changing our world.