Fast forward with me to the summer after my freshman year of college. All my friends and I decided to work at this Christian summer camp and this one Saturday afternoon we all went to a Mariners game. As we were headed back to the ferry, we came across a parade going on and there were all these Christian protestors holding “You are going to hell” signs. So one of the guys we were with turns to me and says, “Hey I’m going to go talk to them.” And I was like, “Sweet, I’m going into Gap.”
So after I finished shopping at Gap, I went to find him and he had convinced this street performer to lend him his sound system and my friend was preaching the gospel on the streets of Seattle to anyone that would listen. I remember sitting there watching and just being amazed that this guy was preaching the best news anyone is ever going to hear, and people were half listening, some weren’t even paying attention or talking over him. And afterward he proceeded to go and talk to different people individually. And as we kept walking back to the ferry, he kept stopping and talking to people and sharing the gospel with them. And at one point, I’ll never forget this moment, he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry Beth, but I gave my life to Christ a long time ago and I guess that means I can’t even go shopping with some friends without His constraints on my life.”
I felt like he punched me in the stomach. The rest of the day and into the next morning I didn’t talk. I couldn’t (which, for those of you who know me, is saying a LOT). I was stunned by the demand of Christ to rule my life. I realized that if God is the God who made men like Isaiah say, “I should die because I’m so sinful” and men like Ezekiel fall flat on their faces, He deserved SO MUCH MORE than the life I was living for Him. See, at that point for me, I thought a successful Christian life meant having a quiet time every day and feeling close to God. If I could just do that, I would have arrived. But I realized that God wanted so much more than that. He wanted to be my treasure. HE was the end all. Not a quiet time or feeling close to Him – those were means to the end, but not the end in themselves. I needed to be like the pearl purchaser who would sell everything, give up whatever I needed to, to get God. I had to give up my desire for normalcy. I knew if I decided to follow Christ – to really follow Christ – I would never be normal again. I would never be a normal college student, or spend my time however I wanted, or marry whoever I wanted, or do whatever I wanted to do for a career, or live wherever I wanted. But I knew enough about God by then to know that He was good. So it seemed like there was no option. I couldn’t run away from Him this time. I had to follow Him. And so I began pursuing making God my treasure with everything I had.
And I share that to warn some of you. Some of you are in the same boat I was. You look good on the outside, you are doing all the right things, there aren’t major areas of sin in your life. But God isn’t your treasure. He isn’t ruling over every area in your life. You aren’t willing to give everything up for Him. If that’s you, stop it. Stop living such a small, piddly Christianity. God wants, deserves, and demands more. Give it all up for Him. You won’t be disappointed.
There are two more parts to come. Stay tuned.