Are you an observer or a participant? I know, it depends on what’s going on. My extroverted personality tends to get me involved. My lack of boundaries causes me to say yes to things I don’t always “want” to do. And because I’m somewhat ADD, well, I just don’t sit well. I like to be where things are happening. Unless the “happening” is in the kitchen or on a sports field of play. I do know my limitations.
Ah, limitations in participation. They are pretty much self-imposed, wouldn’t you agree? We have our list of “can’ts” that we are quick to recite when with really can’t or don’t want to do something. When I was a kid and my grandmother wanted to teach me to knit and crochet, I was quick to use the excuse that I was left handed and therefore couldn’t learn. I’m not exactly sure where I got that, unless it was from my first grade teacher, who I absolutely exasperated, as she struggled to teach me how to write my letters. Perhaps she determined and announced that I was unteachable because I was left handed. Anyway, it was an excuse that served me well on summer days when I was clearly more interested in playing outdoors than learning to knit one and purl two.
All this thinking about participation, reminded me of one of my favorite passages in scripture. It was penned by Peter: His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV)
I found this passage early on in my faith journey, thanks to a small book by Bob Benson entitled, “Come Share the Being.” You can borrow my copy, but I want it back. In it he invites us to really contemplate how we have not only been invited, but we are equipped to share in the divine nature of God. You and me, with all our stuff—good and bad—have been given the great and precious promises so that we can participate in the divine nature of God. Does that give you chill bumps, or knock you upside the head, or break your heart? Think about it!
Now, given that we’ve been given ev-er-ee-thing (hear that word broken down and pronounced in a slow exaggerated manner) that we need, how (how, how, how) can we continue to throw up excuses and can’ts when God asks us to do something? It is time to stop letting a few do the work while we observe.
It is time to participate.
If you’re ready to plunge right in, by all means go ahead! The water’s great! But if not, if you’re feeling a little more timid, if you need a little more confirmation (if your cousin’s name is Gideon), than stick your toe in and watch what God will do. Remember when the Hebrew children were willing to put their toes in the Red Sea or the Jordan River, the waters parted.
You have been given everything, God’s most precious promises, to be able to participate in the divine nature. And yes, that does mean you—no matter what your first grade teacher, or mom, or boyfriend, or boss have said!
I don’t what time the clock says as you are reading this, but I know it’s time to stop observing and start participating. What are you waiting for? You have everything you need.