Still thinking about how difficult we make this religion thing!
We laugh when stories are shared of ridiculous things done in life, often the result of attempting to save money in an area for which we are not trained. Example: replacing a serpentine fan belt on a car. Simple task, unless you are unaware of how to adjust the tension on the belt. In my case, snapping the head off a bolt, when if I had pulled in the opposite direction, this spring loaded apparatus would have lifted and the tension on the newly installed fan belt self-adjusted. The cost of drilling out that bolt far exceeded the labor of having a mechanic install the belt.
Maybe you can’t relate to that one. How about the occasional short order cook, turning the Natural Gas grill on high after removing the meat in order to clean the grill? Not a bad idea for effortless sterilization of greasy grates, unless one becomes overly involved in fellowship with those whom he is feeding and forgets to turn off the grill. The grill then continues to blaze until the next cookout, in my case two weeks. Clean grill, healthy gas bill! I paid a significant dumb tax on that lesson.
Our stories are humorous, yet come with a high price. Similarly, as I reflect on my spiritual life, I find myself also paying unnecessary taxes.
This morning, while reading John’s dissertation on love: I John 4:7-21(NIV), I was struck by God’s simplicity. Within that passage, we find a clear definition of the nature of God, the purpose of Christ and the ideal for His followers. “God is love.” Three words that contain the entirety of the Gospel; yet we struggle each day to receive His love, let alone model it! That, my friend in some ways, is another “dumb tax.” I have listened to numerous sermons, engaged in thousands of hours of self-help and spiritual exercise, yet still I lack the “skill set” to avoid costly error in my human pursuits.
“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (4:16b), simple stuff! The purpose of Christ was to reveal the Father, so that we could live and love like Him in this now toxic world. So why do more of us not live and love like Christ?
Maybe religion is the dumb tax? Maybe all these years, our attempts at learning about God, studying the Christ and attempting morality, though not bad, was just not the necessary “skill set” for abundant living? Could it be so simple, as just allowing the Father to love us? We then in return, simply love others? A love freely given when fully received. I think that is the “Good News”!
Tired of paying the dumb tax? KISS, keep it simple…! Let Him love on you today!