Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reading the Last Chapter

"Here, do you want this lottery ticket? We already know it wins a million dollars."

"Um, no...no. I'm not ready to be rich."

This supremely telling dialogue was created by my loyal sister as a pretty fair summary of some recent events. I've had it humming around in my head ever since. While the OneThing08 conference here in Kansas City has been unveiling a whole new arena of thought to many of the attendees, and re-energizing my own pursuit of the full Gospel of the Kingdom, it has become so clear to me once again that God has unlimited extents of treasure for us to dive into and explore -- but we have to actively choose to do so. However much our own ignorance or blindness or short-sightedness comes into play in our choices, the root of our answer is the same. We are either giving a "YES" or a "NO" to Him. We are either saying, "Yes, make me rich," or "No, I'm not ready to be rich." But the fact that richness is available is definitely not in question.

Mike Bickle, who I respect very much, has been diving into the book of Revelation and teaching on that most controversial of subjects: the end times and second coming. I know that many Christians are hesitant to think much about these things, hesitant even to read Revelation because they feel it will simply confuse and frighten. I left the first evening of teaching on Sunday thinking about it in terms of my own passion - writing. Who would read an entire novel, only to stop just before the last chapter? Not only would such an experience be entirely unsatisfying, it would leave one in the dark as to the real story, the full meaning of the novel. Without the ending, in which the hero or heroine triumphs and all the threads of the story come together, it would be no story at all. I, personally, have never met a reader who leaves out the ending chapter. (I've met some who read the end first, though :).

But, to be honest, it is certainly the reader's choice. If they want to read all 65 chapters and then lay the book aside before the 66th and last, they can. We can do this with the Bible. We can read it all but the ending. We can study the parts of Jesus we feel are accesible, and then set Him aside before we're confronted with the majesty of His holiness, with how His love is expressed in righteous judgment, with His simultaneous identities as a King, a Bridegroom, and a Judge. But, just like in my sister's little scenario above, what great richness we are voluntarily giving up if we do! It's like abdicating an entire kingdom. I am not content to meet Jesus face-to-face having only known the parts of His personality I picked and chose. In reality, that would mean I did not really know even those parts, for His mercy cannot be understood apart from His truth, and His love cannot be known apart from His power. Let's read the last chapter!

1 comment:

Annie Peterson said...

Amen. Let's Stand.

:) :)

So, I think Liz is absolutely right, and I love this analogy!