Embracing my love for the back to school season, this month I’m going to share some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year.
I was at a board meeting a few years ago and the Board was faced with a very important decision. One of our companies was losing a lot of money and time came for the decision- do we sell it or keep it as a part of our company? Behind many closed doors, decisions were made moving us closer and closer to shutting down this program.
But meanwhile, out in the land of cubicles, life was going on as normal. Staff were working tirelessly and passionately on making this offering ready for its launch date. Because it was not yet the time to reveal the decision of the Board, staff were operating as if nothing was different and that their product’s launch would take place. All the while, me and few others knew it was all for nothing. They were blindly moving towards a day that would never take place.
During my time as the secretary for our board, I’ve learned that what the Board says, goes. Even if our CEO wants to try an initiative, it’s not going to happen if the Board says no. It made me think about my life. How many times do I pursue and run after things that I want to make happen and fully believe will happen, but the decision by the authority above has already mandated that it’s not going to happen; it just hasn’t been revealed to me yet?
At church a few weeks ago we talked about Luke 14 where Jesus talks about the need of disciples to “count the cost” before they follow him.
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
I always thought this passage was about making sure you’re fully committed and ready for the sacrifice required before we follow Jesus. That we muster up our strength, pick up that cross and play the martyr because we’re so self-sacrificing and awesome, that we’re willing to do that for Jesus.
This line of thinking is dangerous. Dangerous because I love my comforts. I found myself thinking, “Do I really want to suffer like that? Do I really want to pick up my cross?” How about I just be a nice person, stay comfortable and pursue the things I want to pursue? Like a good job, a vacation every summer, and a nice house with a yard.
But what I realized, is that’s not an option. Just like at our company, our staff at the lower level were pursuing this product- giving it all their energy, and putting their heart into it, but it was never going to be released regardless of the fact that they chose it. The staff don’t run the company and therefore don’t get to choose how it works even though they have the ability to make choices and act. The authority comes from the Board and reality comes from that Board’s decisions and rules.
I may choose to pursue comforts in this life, but the fulfillment I imagine and believe they’ll give me isn’t reality. God is the authority of this world, and he made the decision that that’s not how it works. Even though I’m living that way, it’s a lie. It’s not reality. This just hasn’t been fully revealed yet.
Our pastor explained that I, like many others before me, have misinterpreted this passage in Luke. The passage is about counting the costs, but the point of the passage is that you should come to the conclusion that you don’t have what it takes to make it.
My company had so many ideas of what they wanted to do, but the Board had to give them the reality check that they have insufficient funds. As much as they want to pursue that path, the don’t have the resources needed to make it. In Luke 14, Jesus is saying the same thing. You have insufficient funds to build the tower. It’s not a decision of if we want to get to God, it’s the reality check that we have insufficient funds.
Lucky for us, Jesus came to communicate to us what reality is and create a path that leads to a desired reality. He merged the board with the staff. Heaven with earth.
Do you believe God defines reality, not you? Are there any false realities that you’re living in?