“So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” (I Samuel 28:14)
What is life really? God chose the Jewish people to write a book that says God made our body from the dirt of the earth, and it lay there hollow, empty, and lifeless, until… God breathed into the lifeless body and it became a living soul. Can it really be that SIMPLE?
That’s what we believe here at “Sitting Under the Willow Tree”. This simple belief caused me to leave the complicated business-like modern church system, after being a part of it for 60 years. I realized what I felt under that willow tree that day was closer to the real Jesus than what I found at church, inside the big expensive box. In the third act of my life, I wanted to follow the real Jesus and see what would happen? I have discovered a richness the rich man does not know.
The old prophet, Samuel, had a covering from God the Bible calls a “mantle”. I wonder what a mantle like that might be worth in heaven one day? This is not just any old cloak or fancy man-made garment. We’re talking a mantle from God. A covering from God. A “supernatural” covering that God imparted to a young boy named Samuel, who grew up to be a faithful prophet to his people.
What does it mean to walk in the presence of God? Mary was in God’s presence as she sat at Jesus feet listening to his every word, while Martha was stewing in the kitchen. Can it really be that simple? I wonder what kind of mantle Mary had? And did Martha have one?
If you have read much of this site, you probably know I took early retirement and recently entered a part time job as a dishwasher, to earn money to travel America on a dime, (as I call it), living VERY simple as I do. I hope to Fly Fish, Bow Hunt, ride my bicycle, camp, and snorkle as I travel. I also hope to visit “Salt Churches”, a new movement that seems to fit the very same vision I have from God. A vision of getting back to the simplicity of Christ and a simplicity of life!
So I was washing a thousand dishes as fast as I could the other day…
And I was working with a young lady who boldly declares she is an agnostic, and plays some of the most ungodly music you could possible find. I mean, like, it seems like MF is screamed at you almost every other word. (Among other choice verbal declarations.) But this music actually opened a door for me with this young lady to talk to her about the Kingdom of God. And it did not start by me telling her she was going to hell because of her music. The music is not the issue. It’s the heart.
The conversation started like this: “I didn’t know you were such an angry person.” She looked a little surprised at my comment and acted as if she didn’t know what I meant. “The music you like. It’s very angry. Filled with a lot of hate. A lot can be known about a person by the music they choose.”
Then she began attempting to justify her choice of music. “I’ve just learned not to take any crap from anybody. When I first started here I was the only girl, and people tried to push me around. I learned I had to push back. Not take crap. So I play this kind of music.”
“I see,” I said. “But I got to change my nickname for you. I can’t call you ‘Happy’ any more. I got to call you ‘Angry’.”
She knew I’m a Christian, so then she asked me a loaded question, “Do you like Joel Osteen?”
I answered truthfully, “A lot of people do, but me personally, I don’t care for any of those big church and TV guys. It’s not what I see Jesus do. He was simple and very non-materialistic. It’s part of the reason I left the modern church system.”
Now I figured she probably thought he was one of the better ones, since he is always preaching a bunch of “positive thinking” kind of stuff and how to have your best life ever, blah blah blah. Which is also what Jesus was saying while they were driving the nails in, right?
But she surprised me. “Yeah, me neither. Did you hear how he wouldn’t open his church to help people during that hurricane?”
“Yes, I sure did. The REAL Jesus is not like that,” And I began talking to her about the real, the simple, the unmaterialistic, life loving, Jesus, and the SIMPLE church he taught his disciples to start. “As a matter of fact, we’re having church right now, as we wash these dishes,” I suddenly declared.
Again she looked surprised, before she finally said, “Yeah, I guess we are.” And then she said, “If more Christians were like you say, I’d probably be one.”
We have plans to sit at a StarBucks and talk more. Please pray for her.
She also asked another very loaded question, “So how do you feel about homosexuality?”
“I immediately said, “That’s a very touchy subject.” (She agreed.) I said, “If they don’t claim to follow Jesus, then it really doesn’t matter. It’s none of my business and they can do whatever they want, whether it’s right or not, in the eyes of God. But if they claim to follow Jesus…then we would need to have a conversation.” And we left it at that.
So… what about us? Are we covered? Do we, like Samuel, have a covering from God which ushers in His presence wherever we go? Do we have church with people wherever we go? Jesus did. Can it really be that simple?
We’ve got to get back to the simplicity of Christ and the simplicity of His church. It’s all really very simple. It was meant to be kept simple. If I claim to be a Christian, do I follow Christ? Am I a disciple of his simple ways? Am I a disciple? Have I earned a disciple’s mantle? It is not bought with any amount of money. It’s simply the result of being truly in love with God, and his simple ways.
Right now, as an inhabitant of this mortal life, I’m sure you think about your present earthly comfort zone every day. But…what does your soul need today? Your spirit man longs to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. Our spirit knows what the future holds and does not want to end up naked, blind, and homeless, without covering.
What did Jesus actually do? He taught us God’s Word, and he said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.
How did he always manage to make everything so simple? Both the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, are forms of coverings. Jesus taught us about an eternal shelter, an eternal comfort zone that we do not want to miss. Our desire to follow the “simple” and “real” Jesus, shows whether we are his children, his bride, or not. It’s all really very simple.
We will continue teaching about simple church, simple fellowship, simple life at this site. It’s the reason I created it. I hope we are a place you can catch your breath and realize church should not be more stress, rat race, and complexity. Church is to be different than the world, not a copy. A place where a fresh breeze from heaven flows, and we learn His ways. Peace be unto you. Hope you come back soon.
At our other site, we are currently teaching about the “Covenant of Darkness”, if you like to check it out at https://pathwithoutend.com