“Felix Baumgartner jumped from space with a parachute yesterday. What are you going to do today?”
That was the tweet that pushed me out of my proverbial capsule and onto the ledge of indignance. I had read numerous other such playground taunts during the day, but brushed them off. It must have been the amalgamation of them, sitting like a case of Red Bull on my brain, forcing me to crawl out of my complacency. There’s just something that has to be said here.
I’m not certain I’ll be able to shout above the din of over-masculinized bravado. The books and Bible studies, the seminars and sermon series have created a cacophony of cock-calling loud enough to drown out a sonic boom. We’ve spent so much time daring to be Daniels, I’m afraid we’ve forgotten how to be average Joes.
I don’t know if anyone will hear what I have to say. But I have to try.
Dear fellow men …
Please resist the urge to Jesus-juke, Baumgartner-guilt yourselves into woeful inadequacy. Don’t make the mistake of sizing yourself up to a modern-day John Glenn with millions in marketing dollars, state-of-the-art technology, and a breathlessly willing internet audience. You will fall precisely 127,994 feet short.
You will not free-fall from the edge of the atmosphere today. You likely won’t do anything anyone will remember when you’re long dead. They won’t write about you in the blogosphere. You won’t lead the prime-time edition of Headline News. You won’t be a trending topic on Twitter.
Your lust for recognition and significance is sin – but it’s not all your fault. You’ve given in to the popular evangelical notion that real Christian men dream big dreams, make audacious goals, and expect God to do more through them than they could ever imagine. Those things are fine and good for astronauts. But in your ordinary hands, they could wield spiritual destruction. And not one of them, no not one, is anything you need a crucified and risen Savior for. Jesus didn’t die to put you in the spotlight.
The hard truth is that this week will probably come and go just like every other week before it. What are you going to do about that? How are you going to face your utter obscurity, your spectacular mediocrity among the masses of God’s kingdom on earth?
You be brave, that’s how. You get out of bed, make it to work on time, and do the best you can. That’s brave. Lots of Christian men haven’t even gotten this part down yet. You really want to stand out? Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it.
You really want to be brave? The bravest thing you do this week may be the diaper you change at 3 a.m. It may be the hours you spend listening to a friend’s exhausted rant when all you really want to do is check your fantasy football stats. It may look like sorting the laundry while your wife takes a nap, or cleaning the grimy-sticky toys at your church nursery. It may be saying no to the next episode on Netflix, turning off the TV, and getting a good night’s sleep. So you can get up tomorrow and do it all over again. With no hope of ever being recognized for it.
Today Baumgartner is on the ground – the same ground that drinks up the hot tears you cry over the job you won’t get, the girl you didn’t marry, and the friends you no longer have because of your insatiable, Disney-princess thirst for something more. Baumgartner has to go back to something like an ordinary life after what will likely be his greatest day. How do you think he’s going to cope with that?
The apostle Paul told the Christian men in Thessalonica to aspire to something: live quietly, mind your own affairs, work with your hands. Yes, that’s all.
Nicolaus Zinzendorf, bishop of the Moravian church, wrote of the Christian missionary: “He must be content to suffer, to die and be forgotten.” No, nothing more.
Your heavenly Father sees. Do what He gave you. It is enough.