Friday, August 14, 2009

Will you be my friend?

In case you’re not familiar with it, Facebook is a fascinating world that gives you the ability to reconnect with just about anyone with whom you have ever had contact in your entire lifetime. And you can also connect with others with whom you have never had contact or would not be able to outside this social cyber world. All you have to do is to ask them to be your “friend,” and once they accept, they are on your list, you are on theirs, and you are now connected.

This afternoon as I was bored and randomly looking around Facebook, I discovered that I could identify myself as a fan of Max Lucado. I’ve respected and admired this man and his body of work since I first read one of his books. I’d shared his thoughts, taught classes with his materials, referenced him in numerous conversations, and even put magnets with his quotes on my fridge. Yes! I want to be his Facebook fan!

Two clicks later, and my face is among the thousands cheering about him.
But then I noticed that I also had another opportunity. If I sent him a message and he responded, I would not only be a fan, but we would be “friends.” I could be “friends” with this public figure I admire so greatly? He would see my name on his friend list?

I clicked the box to send a message.

The cursor kept steadily blinking, waiting to be moved along with the stirring words I intended to compose that would compel Max to be my “friend.”

Dear Max … No, that’s too familiar.

Dear Mr. Lucado … No, that sounds like a telemarketer.

Dear Pastor Lucado … Better, as his words have shepherded my soul on numerous occasions, but I don’t actually attend his church.

Dear Highly Esteemed Master of the English Language who can parse a concept into so few words that they innocuously slip into my thoughts and then expand into such overwhelmingly complex ideas that my mind can no more hold them than a linen closet can contain a self-inflating raft … Definitely not!

And even if I could get past the greeting, what could I possibly say to make Max Lucado want to be my friend? I ain’t got no gift with words compared to the prose that flows from his pen. He has nothing to gain from being associated with me, but I would have much to gain from even a single word of praise from him for my meager attempt to form words into sentences as powerful as his. If he recognized my efforts, it would set me apart from the thousands emulating his style. If the master wordsmith himself said “Well done,” I would be grateful beyond even his ability to express it on paper!

What if somehow Max heard about me? If one day he scrolled through his list of fans and decided to send me a personal message and ask me to be his “friend”? Would I answer?
Are you kidding? Sure, I would accept his offer of “friendship”—right after I returned home from the hospital because of the sudden heart attack I had—and you’d better believe I’d tell every single person I would meet for the rest of my life that I was Max Lucado’s friend!

Yet why is it that whereas we are struck wordless or become blithering idiots when we can make contact with a personality we admire, we so casually ignore the invitation waiting for us from the Author of all things? That when God who spoke the universe into existence asks me to be His friend and to enter into communion with His heart, I sit here drumming my fingers, deciding whether or not I wish to respond? Have we gotten so familiar with the Almighty that we no longer think He is all that?

I admire God and am in awe at His power. I speak of Him often, have His words in my home, and have taught His Word to hundreds, but God is asking for more than my respect, admiration, or even the propagation of His name: He wants me. He wants me not just to talk about Him but to come and talk with Him (Psalms 27:8) because He wishes to share with me His secrets (Psalms 25:14). He invites me to come to Him not just the one time, when I first came to the cross, or yesterday when I spoke to Him, but even now He tugs at my heart to come into His presence (Psalm 100).

He has nothing to gain from association with me. He is God and I am dust. My greatest praises can add nothing to the greatness of Who He already is, but just one word of His favor gives me a place with Him forever. There is nothing in me worthy of such love and acceptance. And for Him to say “well done” over just a moment of my service for Him would be the pinnacle of my entire life.

I, like many, am a huge fan of God, but He invites me to be His friend. What wonder is this that God speaks my name?

And what am I doing wasting minutes on Facebook when instead I’ve been given an invitation to right now be seeking His face…?

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