Back in the 1900’s; its fun saying that! Anyway,back in the 1900’s while leading a student ministry on the riot-torn Berkeley campus I was invited to speak at arguably the most bizarre event ever! It was called the Holy Man Jam.
This event had to be in Marin County. In the 1970’s, Marin was more of a state of mind than a physical place. Hot tubs, peacock feathers and enlightenment reigned supreme. There was even a guy who sold silence. I kid you not. He sound-proofed his garage and rented it out by the hour to anyone who wanted silence. He was often booked up 6 months in advance.
I wandered into this cosmic menagerie in order to speak for 7 minutes! It was an all day bliss-fest. I was sandwiched somewhere between Transcendental Meditation and Scientology. I did not have a clue how to frame the Gospel in a perspective that would be clear to these seekers.
The atmosphere was thick with arrogance and intimidation. Every speaker outperformed the one before them. They kept raising bar of bliss and my blood pressure right along with it. What would I say? My notes made no sense. No verse came to mind. Then moments before I was due to speak, God showed up in a blaze of mercy. The Holy Spirit let me see that these people worshipped achievement and that they all wanted an edge for sports, business, romance and every other human endeavor. They all wanted ability. They were merely embellishing their bankrupt soul.
I said, “Today I want to describe the one ability that all of these speakers have ignored. There is one talent that will remove the desperate need to waste your money and time chasing mystical white rabbits. The teaching of these men comes at an exorbitant price. The good news is that the Good News is free. Someone already paid for it.”
Then, I turned to the host of speakers and said, “All of you have made wild promises of athletic excellence, mental superiority and even sexual prowess. Can any of you show these people how to please God? The greatest thrill of man is to make God smile. To bring Him pleasure from a life well lived. To lay down at night feeling God’s validation is the only true bliss.” “Paul the Apostle described this one ability upon which all others hang. ‘1 Thessalonians 4:1 “Furthermore, brethren, we admonish you in the Lord Jesus Christ,that you follow the instructions which you learned from us about how you ought to walk in order to please and gratify God.” After reading this verse I took them straight through the Cross, the Blood and the Resurrection of Jesus
After I sat down there was a silence that fell upon the meeting that showed me that God had done the job. Hungry hearts braved the ridicule and came to ask for prayer. Glory to God!!
Have we forgotten the amazing benefit of simply walking with God? Thank God for money, thank God for health, thank God for success but what would all these things mean without Him? God led Abraham out of his tent to look up at the night sky and promised children as innumerable as the stars and the sands. Then He topped it all off by saying “But Abraham, I am your exceeding great reward.” The great reward of getting born again is Jesus Himself.