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Who's In Charge Here? (published in The North Weld Herald 1/14/10)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:15 PM by Fccea Webmaster
Sports Illustrated recently ran an interesting article about Joe Paterno, 83-year-old head football coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions, a position he has held since 1966. The article made the point that age notwithstanding, Joe is still in charge.

Prior to the 2009 season one of his best players challenged him: "You know what your problem is? You don't relate to us." "Is that right?" Joe answered. "That's not a problem. But you've got a problem. You don't relate to me. And that's a big problem." "He got what I meant," Joe said.

Somehow, life is always about who's in charge. I can still remember the comment made by one of our lovely granddaughters when she was about three years of age. Concerning conditions at the home of her other grandparents she said, "Nana's the boss!" Then she continued, "I wish I was the boss."

We all want to be the boss, don't we? We want to be the boss at home, at school, at work, and everywhere in between. At the very least we want to believe that we are in charge of our own life and can do what we choose to do. It's the Frank Sinatra "I Did It My Way" philosophy.

Tragically, it is that desire for autonomy which keeps many from Jesus. They insist that He does not relate to them. He has allowed bad things to happen; He has hypocritical followers; His conditions are too demanding. Any suggestion that He has a claim on their life is met with disdain.

But what if the fact that He died for our sins, does give Him a claim on our lives? What if He always intends only good for us, but it must be under His charge? What if our seizure of personal autonomy is misguided, and really does lead us to the broad way of destruction rather than the narrow way of life? What if the Bible is right when it says, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?"

Who is actually in charge, you -- or Jesus Christ? In the end, who really has to relate to whom? He to you -- or you to Him? Assuming that the Bible is right and Jesus is God, could not Jesus have said exactly the same thing as Coach Paterno. "My not relating to you? That's not a problem. But you've got a problem. You don't relate to Me. And that's a big problem."

And here's the even bigger problem. Jesus will never force you. Never. His unbelievable gift is salvation, but He does not force anyone to take it. You can have your autonomy, or you can have His gift, but you can't have both.

Recent repair work being done on a country bridge meant that it had only one lane available. A small traffic light at each end governed the minimal flow of vehicles. One harried city fellow rushed through the red light on his side only to be met in the middle by an old farmer coming the other way. The city fellow hollered out the window, "Get out of my way, you numbskull. I don't back up for idiots." The farmer just stared at the man and finally replied, "No problem. I do."

Would we truly miss the treasure of Him to idolize a sovereignty that we must inevitably surrender? At our insistence, He will back away -- but at our invitation, He will come.

By His grace, Pastor Dave
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