It’s Thanksgiving Day today. Well, not really today – but it was when I first wrote that line. I’ve been kicking some stuff around in my noggin that I want to evict. And look! Like magic, here you are! I’m such a fortunate fellow.
I am almost 6’ tall and weigh about 195 lbs. Gravity is no longer my friend. By the end of the holiday, the weight part most likely will have doubled. The feeling of being perpetually bloated for an entire day is not completely pleasant but it’s a sensation that in some twisted way reminds me of blessing.
I love seasonings, especially salt, but I need to exercise moderation in using it lest I find livestock trying to lick me. This is the day though when all thoughts of moderation melt away like the marshmallows on the yams.
The Thanksgiving Day parades are concluding on television and I find more cause to be thankful about that than I do my own abundance. The over-inflated, tethered balloon characters in the sky above the parade always seem like a cruel foreshadowing of my likely physical state during the next ten hours.
I never seem to find my balance point. It’s maddening, really. I can’t seem to locate the place between being completely honest about what I actually feel and acting out what I think I should feel. When I don’t feel eye-moisteningly thankful, I don’t think I should act as though I do.
By Golly, It’s A Conundrum
One way seems undeniably callous and the other way seems transparently phony. Why can’t I consistently feel just enough thankfulness to make the role of looking thankful be more palatable to my conscience? If God would simply reduce His requirements for this Christ-like audition, or squint when watching my performance, I could be a star! I just don’t want to get to the point that I can no longer distinguish between Spirit-inspired activity and what only masquerades as it.
I’ve misled you. I’m a bad man. But, I really want to make a point. Truth is, I feel a little more thankful today than I’m letting on.
In Leviticus 9, Moses is instructing Aaron as to what offerings he is to perform and exactly how to do them. Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu are continually mentioned in Exodus and it’s apparent they are included in many of the religious activities of their father. Anyway, aside from the psychological hardships the two brothers must have experienced because of their names, they were obviously among the larger contingent in the Jewish sacrificial burn unit.
However, in the beginning of chapter 10, the scripture jumps directly to the brothers deciding to engage in their own fire offering before God.
1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
Don’t Foster The Imposter
I wonder if their activities were identical to what was the norm for that type of offering. Because they had witnessed the process, it seems to me that they would have been. But God calls it an “unauthorized fire.” Another translation calls it a “strange fire.” And because their action was contrary to what God had commanded, a fire came out from His presence and roasted them. I mean seriously, these guys weren’t out camel tipping or vandalizing mud brick huts – they were engaged in an offering before the Lord.
No matter how the ceremony appeared on the surface though, it was still an act of rebellion. When I read stuff like this in scripture, it always jolts me a little. It causes me to reflect on the authenticity of my actions and makes me keenly aware of how utterly holy God is. He will not be mocked or fooled by faux anything.
Strange Fire Is Bad!
Me typing in the comfort of my living room while preparing to increase my capacity for water displacement won’t change lives. Holy Spirit inspired, authentic living is the only way that I will effectively point the way and draw people to Jesus.
Be real. Recognize and rejoice in the blessings you’re marinating in. If you don’t see the blessings in your life, you might not be honestly looking. Be diligent in seeking God’s heart, but don’t simply perform the rituals of emotional forgery. If you do, the sacrifice you offer, no matter how authentic it looks, might end up a little crispier than you intended.
One day, I desire to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Not, “My good and faithful servant is well done.”