That’d be my Dad climbing out of his treehouse. DON’T ASK.
I was daydreaming about crossing the finish line after running 13.1 miles when my phone rang. It was my Dad returning my call, but I couldn’t remember why I had reached out to him in the first place.
“Well if you don’t need anything,” he said, “I’ll let you go so I can plan my trip to Vegas. My girlfriend Arielle is taking me out there. She’s 27.”
‘Girlfriend’ is a relative term when it comes to my Dad – a girlfriend might be a floozy he’s met at the local college’s football game, or she might be Grammy award-winning artist Rihanna. Whether they be someone he’s actually met or someone he’s hoping to meet before he dies, they’ve all got one thing in common: not a one of ‘em is older than me. My usual shouts of “You are crazy!” mixed with “This isn’t funny!” followed. But the more I yell and plead with him to be like all the other Dads out there, Cosby-sweater-wearing normal homebodies, the more amused he becomes.
“Listen,” he said, “I’m 61 years old and only have a few months left to date. I turn 62 in December, and then it’s all over.”
“What do you mean it’s all over?” I asked.
“I mean that when I turn 62 my social security check starts rolling in, and there’s no way I’m gonna let these women spend my money!”
I sighed and hung up, but didn’t put my phone down right away. Before I laid down for the night I decided to check Facebook.
There were the usual Look at me! Look at me! posts that I have started to skip over without ever reading the whole way through. It’s as though people are beginning to believe IF YOU CAN’T BRAG, LIFE’S A DRAG. And we all know that bragging is very different from sharing special moments or mind-blowing trips to Thailand. It’s winter in New York. I need those pictures of Thailand, ok?
But the posts I despise more than anything – more than the pose women do when they’re going to the club and pose to the side like Heyyyy – are those that disguise bragging as praise.
I am so disappointed that daily I explore social media and it appears as though so many men and women – people who are entrepreneurs, loving husbands and wives, capable leaders, and obvious beauties in their own unique ways – have begun to use God as a hashtag in order to promote themselves. Yes, you say this growing ministry is about Jesus, but what I usually see is your face or something about you with a scripture or two mentioned towards the end. Do you want fans, or do you want fellows? #I think it’s obvious which one you’re after.
Make no mistake about me—I want fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. When I launched my own ‘do good and save the world project’ called Human Arrow, it was crucial to define what it actually means. Almost each day brings a fresh idea or a new way to word something, but the basic principle is that each of us can be an arrow and point others to good. I made the decision years ago to never let my ministry work become about me—if it’s built on me, or people trying to be like me instead of like Christ, then it will fail.
I began praising myself for having a pure heart and not being like them, and remaining pure to God’s path for me instead of chasing fame. It was a warm blanket that I wore at prayer time until God yanked it off on a cold morning last week. On a day when the temperature barely cracked 16 degrees, God made it clear that He wasn’t impressed with my humility because it had stopped me from asking Him for more. In a short moment He showed me how my failure to ask Him for what I want – the chance to impact lives with uplifting messages so we can all be equals in this fight – was my failure. Criticizing people who are show-offs for the gospel isn’t helping the gospel. Asking and seeking and knocking on Heaven’s door is.
So that is my prayer. I am asking to be used. I am seeking Him. I am knocking. His gifts in each of us are so varied. If people respond to luxury, good, let them be inspired. If Churches are filled because of trends, fine, let them be filled and hearts turned over. Me and mine (which are His) will be over here doing what we do, and we’ll all meet in the middle. And it will be good.