Just how much will pile up before we get it?
by Rev. Mike Baughman
Epistle Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
For Sunday, April 1, 2012: Year B—Liturgy of the Palms
We’re playing a high-stakes game in my household right now.
It’s an epic showdown of will, emotion, tears and joy all set in a sweeping coming of age story. I call it our “Game of Thrones”—id est, Potty Training.
My Game of Thrones
My youngest son is three. His next oldest sibling is just about to turn six which means that we have been changing diapers in my household for about six years—that’s three Olympics, one and a half presidential terms and one crap-ton of diapers. If we average 4.5 diapers a day (I threw in the .5 to make it look really accurate), that’s nearly 10,000 diapers. If there are about 50 diapers in the big box of diapers at about $20 each, that’s about $4,000 spent on diapers. I have invested a lot of time and money into dealing with all that sh*t and p*ss.
I am so VERY ready for my son to use the potty (can you tell?).
He’s much less excited about the prospect.
He shows no interest in the either the porcelain or the plastic thrones that I offer him. My patience is running out and I find myself frustrated. My mother tries to comfort me—“it will happen eventually. How many fourteen year-olds walk around with diapers on?” I hear that and think, “there’s a chance I have to wait till he’s thirteen!?”
Deep down I know that he’s going to accept potty training and I know it’s not all that far off, but I’m still sick of the sh*t and sometimes I run out of patience.
God’s Game of Thrones
I’m a dork which means that I’ve spent a significant amount of time reading the series of books by George R.R. Martin that begins with Game of Thrones. The series is all about who will “bend their knee” to whom.
Much of the Bible wrestles with the same question. Will we bow to God or pursue our own purposes, our own desires and our own glory? Will we worship God and God alone or turn to other idols?
Those are key questions, at least, until we get to Philippians 2:10-11. Paul offers a divine vision in which all eventually bend their knees at the name of Jesus. The question shifts from “will we bow” to “how long will it take for us to bow,” from “will we accept the Lordship of Christ” to “how long will it take for us to accept the Lordship of Christ.”
How Long Can We Play this Game?
I think about the game of thrones taking place in my house right now. The question isn’t really whether or not my son will start using the potty…it’s a question of when he will. Even though I know the inevitable outcome, still, I fret over the current situation.
I get aggravated over the sh*t I have to keep cleaning up. I wonder if God does too. I wonder if God grows weary with cleaning up our messes. I wonder if God grows weary with how long it takes us to finally choose God’s way over our own.
The Hardest Question
I know that God is far more patient than me than I am with my child. I know God can see the big picture better than I can. I know that God has dealt with a lot of sh*t over time and that the spiritual, economic and political poop of our modern day world probably isn’t any more disgusting than that of the past. Still, I’m sympathetic to what God has to deal with so I’m left with my hardest question:
What does it really mean to bend our knee before Jesus? How much sh*t are we going let pile up before we finally do it?
The Rev. Mike Baughman is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the co-author of one book and has contributed to a long list of books, curricula, resources and research. He also trains and consults with churches non-profits and small businesses on social media and how it can be used to help their work and ministry. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife (also a pastor) and four kids. You can learn more about him at www.mikebaughman.com , follow him on twitter @ireverant and read his blog, ireverant.wordpress.com