Chasing Lions (part seven)
“Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.”
· Things that were fun as kids are foolish now
· Ex. Bubbles, sprinkler, skipping, How about climbing trees?
· We are called to climb trees! Climbing trees is actually a biblical metaphor in Luke 19.
· Read Luke 19:1-10
· We read stories like this and don’t think much of it. But how many adults do you know that still climb trees? Not too many.
· I love the mental picture of this tax collector in a three-piece suit climbing a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus!
· Zacchaeus had a reputation to protect. He had an image to uphold. But this distinguished tax collector in a three-piece suit climbs a tree like a little kid. He didn’t care how foolish he looked. He just wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus!
· This is one of those days you never forget. He never forgot the day Jesus came through Jericho—the day he climbed a sycamore tree and Jesus hung out at his house! This is the defining moment of His life. I’ve got to think that Zacchaeus would occasionally make a trip back to this sycamore tree. Maybe even climb it for old time’s sake. I bet he brought his grandkids there and let them climb the tree and told them that is where he met Jesus!
· And it all started with climbing a tree.
· God isn’t looking for religious protocol. I think God is looking for tree climbers. God is looking for people who will do anything to get to Him
· Read the gospels and you’ll find that God is looking for tax collectors who climb trees to get to Jesus and prostitutes who crash parties to get to Jesus. He is looking for people who push through crowds like the woman with the issue of blood.
· He is looking for people who yell at the top of their lungs like the blind beggar. He is looking for people who cut holes in ceilings; jump out of boats; and follow stars to get to Jesus!
· It seems like the people that God uses the most are the people who are willing to climb trees or get out of boats or follow stars or chase lions! The greatest turning points in Scripture can be traced back to someone who was willing to look foolish.
· Noah, David, Beniah, Wise men, Peter
· Let me tell you why some of us have never killed a giant or walked on water or found the Messiah. It’s because we’re not willing to look foolish.
· Deep down inside I think all of us have this primal longing to do something crazy for God. We want to build an ark or kill a giant or chase a lion. We want to do something great for God, but we allow the fear of foolishness paralyze.
· Share faith, counseling, pray for a miracle, invite someone to church, mission trip
· Have you ever seen an animal in the wild?
· Part of the excitement was the fact that they weren’t caged.
· I love zoos. But it’s not the same seeing a caged animal. It’s too safe. It’s too controlled. It’s too predictable.
· I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.
· We take something that is wild and we domesticate it. And we put it in a cage for easy observation. We remove the danger. We remove the risk. And the end result is caged Christians.
· It just seems to me that that isn’t the approach Jesus took. For starters, he handpicked a dozen disciples who were totally uncultured, uncivilized, and undomesticated. And Jesus didn’t cage people. He unleashed them.
· The goal of church isn’t to take people out of their natural habitat and domesticate them and make them look and talk and act like Christians.
· When we pronounce the benediction at the end of the service we’re releasing people back into the wild. And you go back into your natural habitat as an ambassador of God’s grace.
· I love the way Erwin McManus says it in his book Unstoppable Force:
“The center of God’s will is not a safe place but the most dangerous place in the world. To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger; to live in his will makes us dangerous.”