With all the money, fame, and glamor that surrounds the skateboard industry nowadays, it amazes me how often I meet kids that pretty much start skateboarding because they want to go pro. Or take skateboarding super serious and get frustrated and depressed if they feel like they aren’t living up to their expectations of skateboarding like the pros. For a lot of people, skateboarding is a means to an end, a way of fulfilling their desires of never having a regular job, and a means to attain fame and glory. People that skate with this mentality never seem to stay in it for very long. I had a friend growing up that told every one that if he didn’t get sponsored by the end of the year he was going to quit skating; and sure enough, he did. Someone in my family too, got his first skateboard and was already talking about becoming a pro skateboarder before he could even do an ollie… he probably skated for 6 months. People that approach skateboarding like this, don’t truly love it, they are just using it for their own selfish gain. When skateboarding is a means to an end, it fosters grand/unrealistic expectations that crushes the joy of it and leaves people burnt out and over it in a matter of months. When we truly love something, when it is it’s own end in it of itself and we are not just using it to attain some selfish gain, the joy of it will always be far greater and our commitment to it will last much longer than if we were just using it as a means to an end.
People tend to approach God in a very similar way – They will profess Christ as their Lord and live a life that aligns with that only for what they can get from Him. He is their means to an easier, less painful, blessed life. In 2010, Steve Johnson – a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills dropped a game winning pass in the Super Bowl, and after the game he got on twitter and said, “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…” For Steve Johnson, God was a means to catch passes and win super bowls, and because his relationship with God was built on what he could get from Him… it crumbled. Whenever we love something for what we can get from it – whether it be Jesus, skateboarding, winning super bowls, significant others, and whatever else – at some point it will always crumble. Love has to be selfless and an end of itself if it is endure.
Many people approach God from the vantage point of, “what is in it for me?” They may not say it so plainly as that, but how they react to hardship, and deal with suffering, does say it plainly. These are the people that become atheists when a loved one dies, or when they lose their job, or are faced with some other travesty. They expect God to bless them and give them an easy life if they serve him. They see God as more of a business transaction than a relationship. If they do their part in serving Him, than God has to do His part. And if he doesn’t… He isn’t keeping his side of the deal. But scripture never says serving God will make life easy and painless, but in fact, quite the opposite. Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He never said we would never endure storms, but that he would be with us and give us peace through the storm.
Christ must become beautiful if we are to love Him in a selfless manner. When the Gospel really penetrates us and we realize how much Christ gave up for us; a genuine, selfless love is inevitable. He died so we could live; He let himself become bound so we could be free; He gave up His treasure in Heaven to make us His treasure. Timothy Keller – A well known pastor and best selling author said, “When we see Him dying to make us His treasure, that is when He will become ours.” Only through a genuine understanding of the Gospel can our love for God be genuine, otherwise it will always be a means for what we can get from Him – leaving us crushed and in despair every time life gets difficult.
Why do you think it is so typical to serve God with the mentality of, “what is in it for me? what do I get out of this?” What are the dangers of this mentality and how can we have a healthier understanding of what it means to serve God?
Why do you serve and follow God? Do you love Him unconditionally? Or is he a means to get something you want?