Don’t Go Away Mad – Just Go Away

…Nothin’ left to do
Too many things were said
To ever make it feel
Like yesterday did…


I was in the mood for some good old rock n roll tonight. One of my favorite bands is Motley Crue! Don’t tell my youth pastor! So I went to YouTube and searched for the Crue and just let it go from one song to the next. Every once in a while it would mix in a little Poison, some AC/DC, even Journey. I rarely have a night where I can just sit and do nothing – I must say it’s very refreshing when I am able to though!

As often happens when music is playing, I found my mind drifting from memory to memory. Every song I heard had a memory attached – some awesome (seeing Young Guns with friends after a rough breakup, and Love Bites came on the radio and I got into a fight right out in the middle of Air Depot! I punched a guy in the head and screamed YOUNG GUNS BABY! Then he made a mess of my face – and yes that’s a good memory!) some bittersweet (The Search is Over – Tina Price – obviously the search was not over, but as always, last to know), some just outright sad – and I have examples for that too but this post isn’t supposed to be a downer.

And as often happens after my mind has had a time to process all that youthful folly attached to the music I have always listened to, I began to listen for spiritual things. There is a lot of truth and wisdom in the lyrics- the guitars are loud and you can feel the drums beating in your chest like an extra heart, but the words are pure poetry. They reached me on a spiritual level when I was young, and they still do today.

I don’t know how you feel about the music of your youth – I think mine is beautiful. I’m an 80s kid and proud of it!

All that being said, my brain kicked into overdrive when I heard Don’t Go Away Mad. It’s crazy – like a little part of my brain exploded in activity and out popped a thought. And here it is –

So often we walk away mad from God. He is loving, kind, gentle. He calls us his children! We are co-heirs with Christ! We have been given every spiritual blessing! And most of the time it’s not enough. At least, that’s where I am – nothing is every enough.

I’m in a great church! They want me to do things – they don’t need me to do anything but they *want* me to do things! And I want to do things – but not the things they want me to do!

I remember once, and I was as humble as could be (which is not a lot to be honest), I asked a pastor what he wanted me to do. He was so excited that I was volunteering! The ministries of our church are overflowing with volunteers, and I wanted to help, and so, they basically said to me, “Rich, we need you to stand right over there!” And with little enthusiasm, I went and stood.

Then I volunteered some more. I asked someone else this time. He was so happy that I wanted to help out! After a few weeks he got back with me and said, “Rich, we need you to sit right over there – except for when we need you to sit over in that other place!” And then I felt like I needed to remind them of my background – 17 years of ministry! I have spoken in front of some pretty large crowds! I have had some awesome student ministries! I used to be somebody – don’t you know that? Don’t you¬†know how many people follow me on social media? So I went and sat with a frown.

Then I just stopped. I stopped standing, I stopped sitting, I stopped moving. And when I stopped, the world just kept on moving, and they found other people who were happy to do the sitting and the standing.

I was reminded while listening to music tonight of another person of great promise, with great resources, with great talents, (I’m not saying I’m all that great – just trying to make a point) who also walked away mad. We don’t know what ever became of him, but his story goes a lot like mine –

Master! What should I do with all this stuff? All this awesome stuff! Look at it! Look at all my awesome stuff!

My child, you have to give it up. You have to leave it on the ground where you stand and walk in my footsteps!

Dang it. Look at it all! All this stuff is priceless!

Your stuff is worthless – following me is priceless.

Jesus had no condemnation for the rich young ruler. He didn’t chase after him saying, “didn’t you hear me? You need to do this! You really, really need to give all that up!” Jesus didn’t burn him to toast on the spot. He just let the dude walk away with all his stuff.

Just like he let me walk away with all mine. Because without love, all my talents are an airhorn in the ear while you’re sound asleep. He let me walk away mad just like the rich young ruler walked away mad – because I and he have both made idols out of our riches. God doesn’t need your money, your talents, your gifts. If you don’t lay them down they become millstones around your neck. But sometimes, sometimes when we lay those things down and just follow – just be his – just accept that being in his presence is enough, and more even than you’ll ever need and way more than you deserve – then, sometimes, he picks those things up that we laid down and hands them back to us.

The rich young ruler walked away with all his stuff and we never heard from him again. This is not a mistake I intend to make. I’m laying it all down. I’m going to sit at his feet. I’m going to follow him, and I’m going to be satisfied in my heart with that, and I’m going to learn what it means to be a son of God, I’m going to learn to receive good things from him, I’m going to learn what it means to be overflowing with rivers of living water – and I’m going to let that be enough –

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