When Obedience is Awkward

With all the power he could muster, he wrapped his tiny hands around daddy’s power drill/driver. He was given the task of screwing a couple of screws into the wall. He took both of his little hands and hoisted the monster up to the screw. It took him a couple of minutes to get it positioned…

Then he pulled the trigger.

He wasn’t expecting that much power. The drill spun itself out of the screw, and along the wall, leaving a healthy scratch. The little boy tried again. He labored and labored, until finally those screws were embedded into the now scratched up and mangled wall. 

Everything about the execution of this chore was awkward. And everything about it pleased the heart of this boy’s father.

Excellence, Excellence, Everywhere

I think about that little boy trying to use that power tool when I read things like this:

It’s important that we start and end with this: God demands excellence from us. And excellence is not about having more money, more staff, or more talent. Excellence is a choice. It’s setting a standard and living up to it. And our Creator wants a level of creativity in our churches and in our programs that is at the highest level. We are commanded and required to deliver. –Brad Lomenick

I’ve heard similar things before. And I think that I agree in part. We don’t want to have flippant attitudes toward worshipping the Lord. We want to give the Lord the best of us.

But let’s be honest, “the best of us” is always awkward. Living out the Christian life is not marked by excellence or victorious living. It’s marked by awkwardness. Beautiful, God-honoring, awkwardness.

And you and I need to be okay with that.

If we develop an attitude which says, “If it cannot be done perfectly then I don’t want to do it at all”, then we will never stumble our way through obeying Christ. Things like evangelism are awkward. Every step of the way. At least it is for me. At times awkwardness is our only option.

I’m not awesome. I’m awkward. That is why I delight in Psalm 103. “He knows our frame, He remembers that we are but dust…” I’m like that little boy wielding that power tool every time I get up to preach. Every time I husband, and father, and disciple. And I scratch lots of walls. I sometimes make a mess of things with my clumsy obedience. But I plan to keep going at it until I get that screw securely into the wall.

If you are inelegant in your exercise of grace, as I am, then you’ll be refreshed by this William Bridge quote:

…the Lord proclaims unto all His children, that what they lack in performance, he will make up in [compassion]. He proclaims this unto them, that He will require no more than He gives; He will give what He requires, and He will accept what He gives.

[Insert *sigh of relief* here]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01446388434272680014 Jim Pemberton

    Me too!

    (Okay, that was awkward, wasn’t it?)

    Great message here, Mike!