This is part five of a whole series of posts I’m doing on my trip to go hear Rob Bell in February 2014. If you want, you can start at the first post.
During the first session Rob said (paraphrasing from my notes), “Life changes when you decide to be a recipient of grace – when all of life is seen as a gift. Entitlement is boring. Achievement is boring. Gift is interesting.”
This has me thinking because entitlement and worship of achievement seem to be two major flaws that different generations like to point out in each other.
These dang millennials think they are just entitled!
These dang boomers work 80 hour weeks and sacrifice their families just so they can be ‘successful’!
What Rob pointed to as the problem isn’t a generational divide, but is a lack of acceptance of grace. When people don’t believe in grace – in God’s extravagant gift of grace – then they need to act like it’s deserved, either for how special they are or how special their work is. The generational gap cannot be bridged in learning about each other or in changing generational behaviors. These strategies are, at best, temporary and tension filled ways to get people to behave long enough so some sort of cooperation can result. Imagine how much better of a result would be possible if different generations viewed all of their life as the unmerited favor of God.
While I am all for people feeling special and I love working hard to achieve goals, when I begin to think of my personal worth in these terms I tend to run into trouble. It always leads to competition, envy and jealousy. It never leads to grace, mercy, joy and life. So if it’s the latter list that I am living for, why try to live the way that leads to the former!
Rob mentioned a book by Michael Gleb, “How to Think Like DaVinci”, as a resource on looking at the world as an interesting place – a grace filled place. People who are interesting find the world interesting. Apparently Gleb writes about the habits DaVinci had which led to his genius and encourages readers to take them on in order to also be a genius. So genius is less about DNA and more about the habits that allow a person to receive the world with awe. It’s less about workaholism and more about opening one’s self up to what each day has to experience…as a gift!
When you move slow enough to be able to notice how amazing the world is, then you are able to interact with people about things that are fascinating. When busy people just talk all about how special they are or what they’ve managed to achieve it can get dull in a hurry. In reality, who you are and what you have been able to do is a testament to the people who invested in you and gave you opportunities to achieve. The connectedness of the human endeavor is incredible. When we embrace our commonality, we are able to live in a grace that is inevitable and irresistible.
Irresistible grace… now that is a creative concept.