Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do You Have What it Takes?

I only watch 2 television shows...well, that is, if all sports programs don't count (because, hey, they're not a series!). Anyway, the two shows I watch are 24 and LOST...LOST pierced my soul last night...wasn't really fair, 'cause I wasn't ready for it.

I am not EVEN going to try to tell you what LOST is about (though I will say it's like Back to the Future on steroids...but completely different!).

There is this one character, Jack, sort of the leader of a group of people who plane-crashed on a mysterious island. Jack is a doctor, a man of science who struggles with matters of faith. He had a rocky relationship with his dad...a man he could never quite please. Apparently, one day, Jack's dad looked straight at him and said "You don't have what it takes."

Now I'm sure in his own sick way, Jack's dad thought it might motivate Jack to succeed...what a stupid man.

It marked Jack for his entire life.

Imagine that.

A man with all his gifts, talents, with the Echo in his mind every moment of every day..."You don't have what it takes." So sad.

I know something sadder...

Every human being, in one way or another, hears the same evil echo..."You don't have what it takes."

"You don't have what it takes" to make it in your marriage; You don't have what it takes to make it in your career; You don't have what it takes to be a good parent; You don't have what it takes to make it through adolescence; You don't have what it takes to make it as a Christ-follower; You don't have what it takes to....

Well, you get the picture.

Unfortunately, it's what theologians call a result of "the Fall." When humanity fell into rebellion, something broke in the human soul that has been passed on to all of us...and I mean ALL of us!

So, here I am last night, sitting next to our youngest son, and this scene begins in the middle of LOST. Jack is with HIS son; it's "his weekend" if you get what I mean. You can tell their relationship is strained. Jack has to leave for a bit and when he returns home, his son is gone. Jack is worried. He really loves his son...He longs for a relationship with his son...but he doesn't know where his son is and he doesn't know why things are so hard and difficult between him and his son.

He runs over to his "ex's" house to see if his son is there...he's not. But there's a message on the answering machine...Jack listens. It's some music conservatory talking about a scholarship performance that his son is to play that evening. Jack looks at his's scheduled to take place in just a few minutes. He rushes to the conservatory just in time to listen to his beloved son play, practically flalwlessly a very difficult piano piece by Chopin.

Jack is moved to tears.

After the performance, his son rushes outside to get back to Jack's place...and Jack meets him. Jack asks him why he never told him he was still playing the piano and why he didn't tell him about the conservatory performance. This is where it gets least for me...

His son looked into his dad's eyes and answers...

"I didn't tell you...because I didn't want you to see me fail."

Jack's eyes fill with tears...again...only this do mine.

Jack looks at his son and tells him something that changes their relationship. "One time when I was about your age, my dad, your grand-father looked at me and said words I'll never forget...he said, "You don't have what it takes." Jack, again moved to tears, looks into his boy's eyes and says, "I NEVER want you to fear that you might be a failure in my eyes...and there is nothing that you could ever do that would ever cause me to stop loving you. I will ALWAYS love you...all I want is a relationship with you."

Now his son is moved...and now...I am moved to tears...again.

What was going on in me? The brokenness of the Fall hit my consciousness. I, like Jack, often hear the echo of the Fall: "You don't have what it takes." Sure, we all have family issues I guess...but my dad NEVER said anything like that to me...nope...I was hard-wired that way. We're ALL hard-wired some kind of way that is broken. Mine has always been, "You don't have what it takes."

But here's the amazing thing...the things Jack said to his son...those are the things our Father in Heaven says to us through Christ...

"I NEVER want you to fear that you might be a failure in My eyes...and there is nothing that you could ever do that would ever cause Me to stop loving you. I will ALWAYS love you...all I want is a relationship with you."

Not only that, but God is constantly whispering to our hearts, "You DO have what it takes! Because I've promised to give you in Christ all that you would ever need!"

2 Peter 1:3--His divine power has granted to us ALL THINGS pertaining to life and godliness! Read those words again...slowly...believing the Gospel...ALL things...You and I, in Christ, DO HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!!

Hebrews 13:21 basically says that God Himself promises to bless us and equip us with everything good, with everything we need to do His will...He promises to bless us by actually working into us everything we need to live a life pleasing to Him!! You and I, in Christ, DO HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!!!

And we are to remind each other of this every day.

God is out to replace the old tapes of the Fall with a new Echo...the Echo of His validation/affirmation/love...just like He called out to Jesus at His baptism: "This is My Beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased." THAT is the new echo that the Father wants sounding about in our hearts and minds!

As I sat on the couch with my youngest son...I wondered (and this was part of the tears)...what message have I sent him? What messages have I sent my other two children? What messages have I sent my wife? My friends? My church? Are people "afraid to fail" in my eyes? Do I somehow, sometimes, send the message, "You don't have what it takes?"

I want to be a man that leaves every believer I come into contact with thinking, feeling, knowing, "You have what it takes!"

If you're reading this...and you know REALLY do...You DO have what it takes!

So...Go For It!


William Plott said...

Great comments about a GREAT show, Bob...I also watched it with my son and had a similar experience. Thanks for crystalizing it well for all of us!

Anonymous said...

If my opinion counts for anything, I think you have done an excellent job telling us that we can do anything we set our minds to with Christ on our side :) I have never been afraid to go after my dreams, and I know you will always be there to cheer me on. You are a wonderful father and I am so blessed to have you as my Daddy!! Love you!!! -Hannah

Jim said...

I'm in tears just reading this post. I don't even watch LOST! But your message is truly at the core of God's heart and I will be sure to convey it to my kids tonight to be certain they know that's my heart too.

Thank you and God bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Yet for so many of us, we grew up with words similar to this. It's sad because then we think we're never allowed to fail and then when someone who we look up to decides to cut us off, then we see that as yet another failure. Somehow a lot of churches are into this "there's no room for failure here" thing.

Paul said...

Great show, though I would have a slightly different take, ;-). Jack was just unable to overcome words spoken by his father because he was not able to realize his Buddha nature...we do all have what it takes, to become enlightened, namely: the Buddha one gives this to us or can take it away, it is always there...

....everybody has the Buddha Nature. Everybody has this potential to awaken. As individuals there is no fundamental distinction, difference or basis of discrimination present in any of us. There is no basis to discriminate between one person and another since we all fundamentally have this same nature, Buddha Nature. The only difference among us is the extent to which that nature is manifest or not. The more impurities or confusion that we have, the less that nature manifests. The task then becomes one of enabling that Buddha Nature to manifest fully in our lives. The way in which we do this is go back to the first cycle of the teachings where it talks about karma, how we act, what we actually do on a day-to-day basis. Learning ethical restraint, how to do good and how to avoid evil helps this Buddha Nature to manifest. We can also look to the second cycle of the teachings which is concerned principally with the development of love, compassion and the two aspects of awakening mind; awakening to our relationship to the world and to how the world is. It is through the practices of these that we come to clear away our own confusion so that our own true nature is actually present in the world.

Jamgon Kongrul