If There’s Nothing Else
Long ago, people sent invitations to weddings, parties, dinners, and seminars just as they do today. At the bottom of the invitation was an abbreviation with French roots. RSVP (répondez s’il vous plaît). Translated it means simply, “Please respond.” Etiquette dictated that a response would be given and it would be given in a timely manner.
Today, those initials have come to mean virtually nothing. Like our habits with text messages, the recipient wants to maintain control and will usually delay response while all the options are mulled in private. We would never SAY it, but what we are actually doing is that we’re considering that option as something we may choose, but we make it conditional. Our unspoken response is “Yes. . . if there’s nothing else.” If there’s nothing else I would rather do, if there’s nothing else that comes up that would have greater value to me, if there’s nothing else that would be more appealing, demanding, or urgent–THEN I would be glad to attend.”
Dear friends, we are seeing this in epidemic proportions in our response to GOD’s invitation to worship, pray, and prioritize Him. It’s happening in our personal devotional life as we allow our calendars to fill with every other project that comes our way and we say to God’s whisper of invitation, “Maybe tomorrow.” We’re seeing it with corporate worship and the participation in the community with other believers. “That is really important to me and I will be part of that. . . if there’s nothing else. If I don’t oversleep, if I don’t have a ballgame, if I don’t spend all my energy in the yard, if I don’t go to the lake, the game, the recital, the park, the campground, I’ll invest my heart with my faith community to worship and seek God’s Word to me. If there’s nothing else. . . count me in.
Jesus faced that situation, too. “Follow me,” He said. “I will, but I need to take care of other things first,” they said. “If there’s nothing else that I think I need to address, Jesus, I will follow you. But I may get married, or I may lose a parent, or I may need to work, or I may need to say goodbye to a friend, or I may have had too much fun last night to think about that today. Yes, Jesus, if there’s nothing else that comes up, I will follow you. . .some day.”
Dear friends, life will ALWAYS present “something else” that will compete for your affection and your time. I’m not a legalist, but if I look at my life and I allow everything ELSE to dictate my walk with Christ and His community, then essentially I am saying to Jesus, “You matter to me only until something else invites me. I’ll give you whatever is left. . .if there’s nothing else.
The tragic reality is this: if we prioritize our relationship with Jesus according to the “if there’s nothing else” paradigm, we will experience the life of “nothing left” for Him. And Jesus walked away from MULTITUDES who practiced “if there’s nothing else.” He wanted them, but they demonstrated time after time that they didn’t really want Him. Something else always came up.
Examine your heart. Is He only your King “if there’s nothing else”? Jesus said it clearly: “Seek FIRST his kingdom and his righteousness. . .” So for you, is He FIRST, or is He a choice you make if there’s nothing else?