We do love sexy. We love sexy actors and actresses, cars, home designs, vacations, music, books, clothing, restaurants...we love sexy everything. By this, of course I mean we like things that dazzle and shine and pop and make us and others go, "Oooooooooooooooo!" We like things sexy things so we can sit in front of them and make a sideways peace sign with our finders while doing the duck face as our friend snaps a photo for our Facebook page. Sexy, indeed!
I was thinking last week with a friend about why we in the church are able to raise money for things like big screens, lights and sound systems for our worship centers, but not for parking lots or storage space. It's because that second category of need is not sexy, but the first is.
Christians are not immune to sexy. The sexy (flashy, high visibility, entertainment-based) activities at a church are far more likely to be well attended than an effort to clean up around the home of an elderly person in the community, paint window trim and weed flower beds for a disabled member, study the Bible together, or pray for the local school district as the new year begins.
I have often heard people say that if there are so many Christians in the world, it would seem that the world would be more reflective of Christ than it is. So why is it not? Well, for that to happen, followers of Jesus would have to begin to take discipleship very, very seriously. And discipleship is NOT sexy.
Even in church, we bring a consumer mindset with us. We want to be dazzled and get a little emotional charge out of the experience. Some of us feel beat down by our work or family struggles or just the frenetic pace we have allowed ourselves to fall into, and we want church to be the place where we go to receive, not to give. We don't want another challenge or to be changed. We want to be distracted by our faith - our attention diverted from the stress of day -to-day life We want Jesus to say, "Go therefore, seek out the sexy, distracting and diverting things in life." Sexy is distracting and diverting. Discipleship is not.
Discipleship takes place very often out of public view and away from anything that flashes, dazzles, shines or pops. It more often than not requires sacrifice and putting self-interest aside. It requires discipline and commitment and connecting yourself to the need, and sometimes, to the suffering in the world. So discipleship is not sexy.
But what discipleship is, is good. It is life-giving. It is joy-producing. It is grace-filling. It is power-infusing. It is courage-building. It is love-enabling.
Discipleship makes for a life well-lived. Sexy makes for a life numbed-out.
Have I used enough hyphens yet?
May you discover the sheer, overpowering goodness of pursuing the life of a disciple of Jesus. May God's grace fill you as you do. May you be the kind of disciple about which even sexy-driven people think, when they observe your life, that there might be something missing from theirs. May you be ready to help them discover it. May you go, be a disciple, and make disciples for Jesus.