China in a Bull Shop

Christ FellowshipUncategorized

I was terrified the first time my idol factory got destroyed. I was consumed in a life of people pleasing and self-deception. For decades I had designed and built the porcelain artifacts of my life. “Come one, Come all” I proclaimed. Worst of all, to show my piety, every artifact had a nice little cross on the bottom. The transition from display to destruction was sudden. Jesus had called my bluff and was now smashing everything.

He was turning my little China shop into a Bull Shop. A place where Christ and Christ alone would be on display. It took about three weeks for everything to fall apart, and another six months to accept it.

Our hearts are entire cities of china shops. God is “invited” as long as he leaves everything in its place. The story of redemption leaves nothing unturned. Relationships, Church, Job, Health and so on. Everything is impacted. Oh sure, the stuff works, but not as it should. Plain and simple. Jesus will keep destroying the shop until He is the only object. Bring in another “I’m fine by myself” vase, WHAMO! Just like that. God’s LOVE wont tolerate it. It never feels like love. It feels like cruelty or even worse, indifference. But God continues to use loss to reorient our heart’s toward his benevolence. By faith, we will grow in our delight of this new reality.

A similar story happens in the book of Jonah. We see the King of Nineveh decorated in glory, then suddenly he is wearing a potato sack and sitting in soot. God was reorienting his heart and it hurt.

The word (of God) reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.Jonah 3:6

Personally, I still long for a seat at the potter’s wheel. To give God a wise word on design. In kindness He refuses the seat and reminds me, “This store was never designed to sell collectibles, it was designed to feed people. Cease striving.

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves; when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little; when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore. 

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your majesty; where losing sight of land we shall find the stars.”—Prayer of Vice Admiral Sir Francis Drake