This article was originally posted at http://clearlyvague.blogspot.com/2010/03/jesus-is-disappointing-and-me-too.html
Jesus Is Disappointing, And Me Too
I found out I disappointed someone today. Actually, it was a few people.
And I think I am okay with this.
Because I am trying to learn the discipline of disappointment. I call it a discipline because it is intentional. Sometimes you must be down right deliberate about doing things that you know will disappoint others. Most people seem to have an agenda for your life. Or at least expectations of what you should be about and what you shouldn’t. And sometimes that agenda they place on you doesn’t line up with the one God is forming in you. And it takes discipline to align with God’s agenda for your life to the point of saying no to the agenda and expectations others place on you.
A few weeks ago a couple asked me to do their wedding. They laid it out there that they needed someone to do it and had really connected with me as a pastor. Then there was an awkward silence as they waited for my offer to do the wedding.
I never gave it. And I referred them to someone else.
They were visibly disappointed.
But had I jumped in and rescued them from their disappointment by saying, “Okay, I’ll do it”, it wouldn’t have truly been for them… it would have been for me. It would have been to make me feel better.
The reality is this. There are only so many hours in a day, only so many meetings I can go to, and only so many items I can give my attention to.
So someone is going to be disappointed. And that is okay.
I have been fascinated recently with reading all the stories in which Jesus disappointed someone. It happened really often you know. Reading through Luke, and looking for the different ways in which Jesus disappointed people has led me to finding that Jesus was pretty good at the art of disappointment.
To be honest, I think I would have been disappointed with Jesus had I walked along side him 2,000 years ago. I only say that because it seems like most everyone else was disappointed at some level.
He disappointed the religious leaders because they expected him to be a righteous observer of Torah. Which he sort of was, but then there was that little Sabbath issue he had from time to time.
He disappointed the sick in various town because at some point he had to say “no” to healing them in order to move on to the next town or get some much needed rest. How would you like to have been the next in line to be healed only to hear him say, “I’m sorry I can’t get to you, I have to get going to another town now. Have a great day though.”
He disappointed his family to the point of them searching for him so they could implore him to stop acting the way he was acting.
He disappointed John the Baptist to the point of John sending his own disciples to ask Jesus if he was wrong about him.
He disappointed the Jewish nationalist by refusing to be roused by political tensions and instead calling people to watch over their own hearts.
I have never considered that following Jesus may mean learning to disappoint people for the right reasons. And that is the key. I don’t want to disappoint people for the wrong reasons.
Disappointing others because I am angry at them and want revenge is wrong.
Disappointing others because of apathy is wrong.
Disappointing others to make a point to them is wrong.
But disappointing others because I prioritize my time with family… right.
Disappointing others because of my convictions about how God has called me to use my time… right.
Disappointing others by choosing not to do something for them out of guilt… right.
The reality is that everyone you surround yourself with has expectations of you. And sometimes those expectations don’t line up with what is best for you, the calling God has placed on you, or your family.
And nobody will say no for you. But saying yes to someone out of fear of disappointing them is more damaging in the end than saying no. Saying yes for the wrong reasons leads to a detachment of the self. It leads to resentment. And it leads to a life completely out of balance.
So let me just put it out there now.
If you know me, I will disappoint you.
I will not be able to return every call or every email. And sometimes it will be intentional because I just have to be about other things, whether it is work related or time with family.
I will not be able to attend every wedding I am invited to.
I will not be able to meet for coffee with everyone who may want to.
I will give a teaching you do not like.
I will say things that make you shake your head.
I will do my best to make sure that these things are done with the right motivation and intentions. But will fail in that as well.
But I will follow the Jesus who disappoints for all the right reasons. And I will be at peace with that.
Posted by Jason Mitchell at 12:06 PM