There are any number of myths and misconceptions on the Christian life circulating in our culture today. One of most prevalent is wondering if the Christian life is boring. If I asked for a show of hands to this question: Who has ever thought that being a Christian is a little boring? Would you raise your hand before you became a believer? Did you raise your hand now that you are a believer?
After all, no one has ever said we are a laugh-filled group. Nobody far from the heart of God has ever said, “I might not love Jesus, but his followers sure know how to party!” Does accepting Christ as savior transform us into an “old stuffed shirt.” Are all the rules of Christianity designed to make Christians miserable by prohibiting any fun.
Sometimes being a Christian can feel a little boring – I mean, God expects us to live in a righteous and holy manner, so how much excitement can our lives really have? The answer – a lot of excitement!
A familiar story in the Bible gives us an interesting perspective on this subject. That story is the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.
A young son said to his dad, who represents God, “I want my inheritance.” This was basically telling the father, “I wish you were dead!” because if you were I wouldn’t have to wait for my inheritance. The father gives him the money. The son immediately runs off to Las Vegas (not really) and parties the days and nights away. After squandering all the money and awakening in a pigsty, the son develops a plan of action. He will travel back to his house, apologize profusely, and throw himself on the mercy of his father. The best case scenario in this strategy is that His father will let him be a servant. Anything is better than sleeping in a pig pen and hoping he eats what the pigs eat, but going hungry.
He comes home expecting pointing fingers and stern lectures, but instead something weird happens. The father sees him from a distance and sprints to him and embraces him. Before the son can even do his mea culpa, the father has already started planning the last thing he expected.
A party. Instead of ridicule and revenge, he gets a party. Who does that? The idea that God fixes problems with parties doesn’t fit in with the whole perception of Christianity being boring.
Life doesn’t work that way. Imagine you made a major mistake at work. The company president calls you into his office and tells you that your mistake cost the business its biggest account and millions of dollars. He looks at you across his expansive desk and says, “You know what that makes me want to do? Throw you a party!”
Or, while you have infrequent arguments with your wife, last night you had a knock down drag out argument where you said some hurtful things to her in anger. So hurtful that you thought it wise to sleep on the couch. The next day your wife is folding sheets mumbling something about men that you can’t quite make out. Then she takes a deep breath and says, “You really hurt my feelings. I guess my mom was right about you. I’m angry and disappointed. This whole thing makes me want to invite some friends over and throw a huge celebration in your honor!”
A note to all men who are reading this. It won’t happen. Our worst mistakes don’t end in parties, but in this story in the Bible, it did. But don’t miss the point. When given the opportunity to talk to a group of people, the picture Jesus drew of his Father was someone who met sinners with a welcome home party.
What if Christians were like that? What if Northstar became the place where failures found new beginnings? What if we offer hope in exchange for hurt, new in exchange for old, parties in exchange for pain. It all feels a little crazy, but I don’t think it would be boring.
This is not to say that the Christian life is one never ending party. Sometimes, a new Christian is surprised that his new life is not “more exciting,” as if the Christian life is supposed to be a thrill-a-minute extravaganza. No life is that. Boredom is something we must all overcome. Everyone stands in line at the grocery store, gets caught in traffic, or is given jobs he’d rather not do.
We also know it is not easy to follow Him (see Matthew 10:34-39) It’s not easy, but is it supposed to be “boring”? Absolutely not. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10.
Now that is something to party about.