Summary: Doers of the Word of God hear with their 1. Wills engaged. 2. Minds engaged. 3. Hands and Feet engaged.
Max Lucado writes: “For some, Jesus is a good luck charm. The ‘Rabbit’s Foot Redeemer.’ Pocket-sized. Handy. Easily packaged. Easily understood. Easily diagramed. You can put his picture on your wall or you can stick it in your wallet as insurance. You can frame him. Dangle him from your rear view mirror or glue him to your dashboard.” If you think he is off the mark, consider some of the Jesus junk I found on the Internet. There is the company which advertises “a huggable, washable, and talking Jesus plush doll.” The doll sells for only $15.95. Sporting fuzzy dreadlocks and a soft beard, Talking Jesus is said to recite “actual Scripture verses to introduce children of all ages to the wisdom of the Bible” when you squeeze his heart which he wears on his sleeve. But commenting on the product, Sojourners magazine reports: “When you squeeze his red heart his sayings include, ‘I love you, and I have an exciting plan for your life,’ and, ‘Your life matters so much to me.’ Which aren’t, um, exactly from the Bible.” But don’t despair, there is the Jesus bobble-head doll and the Jesus Action Figure with broad shoulders and hands rolled into a fist. Then there are the Jesus figurines which have Jesus playing soccer, basketball, hockey and even Jesus dancing with ballerina girls. And those are the best of the things I found out of hundreds of tacky Jesus junk that is available. If you would like a taste of Scripture, you can buy New Testa-mints.
In this culture of tawdry marketing, Jesus has become just another commodity. We have reduced him down to a comfortable, huggable Jesus who soothes us, a Santa Claus god who gives us what we want, or a god who plays golf with us in heaven. This is a god with few demands and no challenges. There is no need for sacrifice here or commitment. All that many people care about is getting their sins forgiven. They believe in God. They believe in the Bible, but don’t ask anything more of them, because that wouldn’t be nice.
Have you seen the Staples commercial with the easy button? Just press the button and get everything you need. No work, no effort, just push the button. That’s the kind of faith we want. Svein-Magne Pedersen is a new kind of techno-evangelist in Norway. He calls his innovation a telechurch. He told the newspaper Fædrelandsvennen: “Many have asked me to come to their homes to hold meetings. This is not always a practical possibility, but now you can take part in a healing meeting no matter where you are in the country.” “This has never been done before as far as I know,” Pedersen told the newspaper. The article states: “Every Wednesday the mission opens its teledoors for what Pedersen has dubbed the ‘Miracle Corner.’ Those who desire healing can press 0 on their phone. Diseases like cancer and arthritis are a few of those mentioned for the service. The telechurch also offers salvation at the press of a button.” The service costs the equivalent to $15.00 in US currency. How about a push-button Jesus. Need saved? Need a problem solved? Need a blessing or a favor? That was easy! No effort. No work. Just results. Need some sins forgiven before you die? Just shoot up a quick prayer before you go, and you’ll be fishin’ with Jesus on a heavenly pond before you know it. This is the innocuous Christianity that this culture has come to know and love. But is it Christianity at all? Does it even resemble who Jesus is and what he said? Are we treating Jesus like some good luck charm or superstitious magic? Are we allowing his words to penetrate any farther than our ear drums? Are we willing to really hear the words of Jesus and allow his words to truly transform us?
There is a great difference between those who simply hear the words of Jesus and set them aside as charming but irrelevant, and those who allow it to transform them. The first point is that: Doers of the Word hear with their wills engaged. The ancient Hebrew word for “hear” is shema. It included the idea of obedience. For them “to hear” was “to obey.” Hearing was not a matter of the physical ear, but a matter of the will.
The news carried the story of a schoolteacher who lost her life’s savings in a business scam. A swindler had spent a lot of time with her explaining why this was such a good deal. But when her money disappeared and her dream was shattered, she went to the Better Business Bureau. “Why on earth didn’t you come to us first?” the official asked. “Didn’t you know about the Better Business Bureau?” “Oh, yes,” she replied with her head hanging sadly. “I’ve always known about you, but I didn’t come because I was afraid you’d tell me not to do it.”