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Being “Ridiculous”

by:Rachel

I don’t think I’d have an easy time getting along with the Apostle Paul if I knew him personally. There is no doubt that he was a man that God used and loved powerfully, and who played such a vital role in the early church, but I think I’d have a tough time with his seemingly strong personality and black-and-white-ness (strange that I married a black-and-white personality despite this!). But in spite of this, many times I feel that I can relate to him when it comes to the “ridiculous” way John and I live our lives. Do I personally think that the way we live is “ridiculous”? There are definitely times. It seems like we haven’t done a “normal” thing since getting married. Two weeks after our wedding day, we were joining a group ministry house in San Francisco and ministering to homeless and hippie-type travellers alike. After a few months, we figured that we needed some time to just “be married” so we moved by car all the way cross-country to Syracuse, NY. Even there, we were living with John’s sister at first and John didn’t even get a “normal” job and we were barely scraping by financially, using our wedding money to live off of. Finally, John got a job that paid a little better and worked at Stickley Furniture for three months before we were off again to Minnesota and college. College involved no income, living in a dorm, having a baby, and getting denied permanent residency. Then there was our trip to India–not exactly norm to take off for there when one’s baby is five and a half months old and having no idea what country will be home after eight or nine months. We don’t own a credit card. We don’t have insurance. We don’t have savings. Yes, some think we’re irresponsible I’m sure. It does sound rather ridiculous. Sometimes it seems extremely difficult to live in a society where you’re supposed to have those things. Sometimes it’s hard to know that people look down on us for the choices we’ve made. I don’t think it bothers John.
But the truth is that I’ve not only graduated high school, but have a college degree. I am a good worker and could get a good job. We could save some money, get a credit card and a loan, and live in our own house. Those are good things. But the path that has been set before our feet is a little different.
Paul had a stellar education. Undoubtedly, as a Pharisee, he was a wealthy man. He was a Roman citizen in a time when that was a big deal. He probably owned his own house. But he chose to look ridiculous to the world. He left behind his house, his money, his respectability, and chose the very different path that God had set before his feet. He chose to be, at times, homeless; sometimes hungry; often looked down upon; to live off “charity”. He didn’t fit in to the unspoken “requirements” of society and was scorned and ridiculed by those he once held company with. It didn’t bother him. He counted all things as loss for the infathomable reward of knowing Christ.
I am hoping that this new step to Scotland will provide a little more stability for our family, that we’ll have a steady income and a settled place to live, at least for a while. I’m looking forward to becoming more involved in the local church. Yet, as we continue to follow Christ and put things that are of eternal importance first, we will continue to be seen as “ridiculous”. One cannot live whole-heartedly for Christ and NOT appear somewhat foolish in the eyes of the world around us. Our values will be different. The things we see as important will be different. If we do not conform to society’s standards, we will be misunderstood, ridiculed. Is that okay? Yes, despite how it makes me feel sometimes, I still say a resounding yes. All will be laid bare in the end and the things that seemed important here in this life, will turn to dust.
Paul is currently not wishing that he’d lived it up a bit more when he had the chance. No, he’s probably thanking God profusely for the chance he had to be “ridiculous” in the eyes of the world. His reward is now.

3 Responses to “Being “Ridiculous””

  1. Charissa
    November 16th, 2006 13:49
    1

    Rach,
    You are a great mother, a loving wife, and a faithul servant to our God. I see nothing ridiculous about any of that instead, it’s rather refreshing these days. And most people in this society, I would think, would envy a family that wasn’t burdened with a large credit card debt. I cannot fathom the thought of people looking down on you for the choices you and John have made. Everyone has their own priorities and the best part about living in a democracy, is the freedom to choose what those priorities are. I will pray for those who judge you just because your priorities are different from theirs. God will continue to applaud you for standing up for Him and yourself and the choices you make throughout life on earth. Love you.

  2. AWHall
    November 18th, 2006 20:24
    2

    Rachel – great thoughts. There are so many ways to live “ridiculously”. I’ve had my chances at more prestigeous pastorates and ministries but have sensed that God’s call was to stay put. It looks foolish – why not advance, get the pay raise? Why not own a house instead of living in a parsonage? Why own one vehicle and walk everywhere in town when you could have two? “I consider that the present sufferings are not worth being compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). As the famous missionary to Africa, David Livingstone, answered when asked about his sufferings (and I paraphrase), “What sufferings? Serving Christ was never a sacrifice.”

    Bless you for living ridiculously for God.
    ~A

  3. Beth
    November 20th, 2006 15:35
    3

    Sometimes what looks to others like a ridiculous life style, can be our ‘God choice’ (what we have chosen because God put it in our hearts). You know Dave & I have chosen a life that many do not understand…..Dave as a teacher and me as a nurse could be looking at healthy pensions by now, had we chosen differently. We would not have it so, for God has placed missions in our hearts and He will continue to direct our lives. I know sometimes the moving can be tiresome, for us as well as for you; however, God gives grace. May the Lord continue to bless you abundantly as you choose His ways for your lives. No doubt you’ve had your share of adventures and interesting situations. The Lord calls us peculiar and that can look ridiculous to many.
    with much love, Mum

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