The lovely Mrs. Burchett and I recently had the joy of watching Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder in concert. I have decided that if I am ever unresponsive you can check my heart status by playing a Ricky Skaggs CD. If my toe doesn't start tapping I am likely flatlined. You just can't help responding if you have a pulse.
I left the concert and waded through Skagg's discography. One song called "Don't Get Above Your Raisin'" brought back memories of something my mom always said to me. Here's how it goes:
Now lookee here gal don't ya' high hat me,
I ain't forgot what you used ta be.
When you didn't have nuthin,
That was plain ta' see.
Don't get above your raisin',
Stay down ta' earth with me.
Mom was raised as a farm girl in Kentucky and she was fiercely proud of that. So anytime she perceived that I was getting a bit uppity and full of myself she would throw that line down:
"Don't get above your raisin'."
Sometimes it was over such important issues as abandoning Maxwell House for that fancy-schmancy gourmet brew. Usually the comment was meant to keep me grounded (no pun intended, for once) and to remind me where I came from. Can't say that I always appreciated the input.
I think we do the same thing as Christians. A big reason we are not more joyful and victorious in this journey is that we forget where we came from. We have forgotten our raisin' and the gift of our salvation. Somehow we forget how desperate we were and start to believe that we actually earned some of our blessings. You know, God is pretty fortunate to have me on board. Paul reminds Titus to tell the believers in Crete to remember where they came from:
"Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other" (Titus 3:3, NLT).
Not too attractive. Nothing to be uppity about. Then the grace of God intervened:
"But---'When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life'" (vv.4-7).
So that is where I came from. That is where you came from if you are a follower of Jesus. Paul wraps ups this text with a challenge:
"This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone" (v.8).
My constant challenge is to not get above my raisin' spiritually:
- If I can't forgive then I have forgotten where I came from. I did not deserve to be forgiven by a Holy God, but I was.
- When I look with disdain at another person I have forgotten where I came from. That person is made in the image of God and deserves the respect that commands.
- When I don't accept another brother or sister I have forgotten that I was unacceptable to a Holy God. Jesus said you are acceptable because of Me. We must offer the same grace because of Jesus.
- When I can't serve without expectation of personal return I have forgotten where I came from. If I remember where I came from I will serve because I am grateful for what Christ did for me.
- When I don't give joyfully of my time and treasure I have forgotten where I came from. If you truly understand where you came from the natural response is to serve Him joyfully.
This is important stuff. I don't want to forget where I came from both as a person and as a child of God. My small town roots are a big part of who I am. And my encounter with grace at the foot of the Cross defines who I am spiritually. I pray that I will remember every day who I am and where Jesus brought me from. Take time to remember where you came from. And then respond appropriately.