I once met a pastor whose last name was "Boring" and he immediately joked about his good fortune. It must have been a personal challenge for him to preach with great spiritual power in order to offset his surname. I also have known a pastor whose first name is "Blessing" but he chooses to live into this moniker and has done so with ease. Oxy-morons are those fun to think about words that say one thing but describe something else. You have heard a hundred of these.
We had the opportunity to shop a farmer's market in Georgia and were overwhelmed at the vast variety of foods. There was amazing Oriental fare, Hispanic foods, Indian cuisines, and items I have never heard of nor would probably ever eat. We happened across this.
Bitter melon tea -- roll that over in your mind just a little and imagine what 'bitter melon tea' tastes like.
Without being brave and buying some to try, we were left to guess what this beverage would taste like. I'm sure it is fabulous. The name itself is one of those wonderful oxy-morons. Melons are usually considered sweet to taste and bitter is -- well, bitter, yucky, and unpalatable.
In case you missed the short list of oxys above there was one that should have raised your eyebrows. Inactive Christians are listed there. Hmmm, how can one be a follower of Jesus and be inactive. The two terms cannot and should not coexist. We can't be both a believer of Jesus and not have joy bubbles flowing out every pore of our body? How can we love the Lord and choose to do nothing in response to this great gift? The answer is simple. We can't!!
Oh, don't get me wrong, we actually can be grumpy and lazy and still say we love Jesus, but it isn't right. It is an oxy-moron to say we love Jesus then practice these things. In fact, Jesus was fairly clear in connecting two important aspects of our faith together. Check it out.
"Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
Loving God is a prerequisite for faith and salvation. Jesus instructed us to do this with everything we can muster. Don't think 'yawning' while loving God. Think 'singing' at the top of our lungs while loving God. Cool! I can love God! Seems like a cinch! Then Jesus had to add the second command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Gaaa!!!!!!!
Why? Why? Why? Faith was so much simpler when we didn't have to tend to other humans. I mean it is a bit easier to attend to an invisible God. We can say we love God and move on with our lives. This attention to love other people does cloud the water and raises the bar higher than we might be willing to jump.
Let's wrestle with our oxy-morons. I know what mine are; do you know yours? Let's connect our love for God directly to our love for neighbors in such a way that even a blind person can be sure we are legit Christians and not oxy-morons.