It costs around £200k to train to be a commercial pilot. Once qualified getting a job as a commercial pilot is not a done deal. Once a commercial pilot’s job is found and secured, the hours of “qualified flying” then begin to add to the pilot’s commercial credibility as a pilot worth employing by other airlines. Only when that happens does the salary and working conditions begin to give a return on the cost of the training. Even then the pilot is more than a pilot. The pilot is first and foremost a human being just like me. The job a pilot a pilot does is the same as mine but different. When we meet you would not tell us apart. My training cost very little.
Jesus said to his disciples, “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” Luke 8:16-18
How these verses both haunt and inspire Christians. They have become these words:
“I am a Christian.”
For me as a new Christian, saying the words was being the “lamp” … was me being the “light”.
Yet almost every “Christian” I knew was reluctant to use those words. Instead of being a “lamp” for others – those words became an admission among the Chosen. At church meeting new people – “I am a Christian” … “So am I.” Or in the church introductions: “Are you a Christian.” … “No not yet, but I want to be .” Yet outside of church I found that saying those words was embarrassing.
And I think I now know why.
Being a Christian is like being a pilot. Without the cost. Without the training. Without the commitment. Without the purpose. And very few people I have met – other than Christians – are interested. And those who are usually ask the wrong questions. Want to blame God rather than love him. Want to blame me rather than listen to me. And there are training courses and programmes to address that.
Except … if God is so great and being a Christian is so “light” – then why the need for “training” … ?
Surely my “light” is God-infused – my lamp is God-indwelt. Shouldn’t people be asking me about my “light” – not about me being trained to tell them?
And then this … “For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.”
And I think that is why.
Being a Christian is not a job. Not even something you should be able to spot easily. Because being a “Christian” is not the point. Saving people is not the point. Being saved is not the reason. Nor is being “God-infused” anything other than my belief. All of that stuff is “religion” – and religion is like a job. I do it when I am working. I bitch about the hours and conditions. I scoff at the “pay”. I “network” to find suitable openings for my skills and experiences. I compare myself to others. I have a hierarchy and a pecking order.
I am as secular in religion as a pilot is in flying.
I think that is why Jesus found it so easy to love everyone. To meet everyone where they are. To love everyone in a way we can’t. To heal those because they saw in him what they do not see in us. To perform miracles when we cannot – or miracles others will tell us is explained by something entirely not “miraculous”. Jesus was not a Christian. Jesus never told anyone he was a Christian. Because that isn’t the light.
What happens to me is not the light.
Who I am is.