Congrats and a Lesson…

7 08 2009
Larry the Cucumber

The "real" Larry the Cucumber

jon_chou_bassist

Jon aka Larry the Cucumber

Last Saturday, Jon Chou (our lead bassist) got married to Carol Kim.  Just wanted to extend a message of congratulations to him, but also a lesson for all of us.  Anybody who knows him can testify that Jon is smart.  He got incredible scores on the LSAT and MCAT, scoring 99 percentile in both.  He is also extremely talented musically, seemingly able to play any musical instrument he touches.  And he also has perfect pitch.  When I was describing this to Joe Horness at our winter retreat last January, Joe said, “Wow. Don’t you just hate people like that?”  He laughed when I said that God is just in making Jon look like “Larry the Cucumber” from Veggietales.

But all of these things about Jon being impressive and all, what I respect the most about Jon is that those things don’t seem to be a big deal to him.  He shrugs it off as if they’re just the way that they are and that’s that.  Looking at his life and the tangible decisions that he’s made, I attribute that attitude to his relationship with Christ.  You see, you could be the smartest, wittiest, most talented person.  But being in a relationship with Jesus means acknowledging the fact that you’re a broken sinner, somebody who before the holy God deserves condemnation, who has received clemency and restoration from Him who gave his life to make it possible.  All the other things that may seem so impressive in this world simply fades into irrelevance as that resounding truth conquers you.  From what I know and can tell from Jon, that’s why he can have all that he does, and yet have his “it’s no big deal” attitude towards it, for which I think is God-honoring.

So, now that I’ve robbed some of Jon’s reward in heaven, here’s the lesson.  Whatever talents and skills you might have and put to use for God’s kingdom, if they are a “big deal” to you, then consider the possibility that in the work of honoring God through your “service”, you might actually be dishonoring him.

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.”
— Psalm 51:16-17

I make this suggestion to anybody who is starting to participate in the Worship Team at Gracepoint:  Take a break from your participation to deal with God in what areas of pride or sin that God is prompting you to deal with, if you so need to.  Make sure you have regular, honest contact with spiritually mature people who know you and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, as painful as truth may tend to be.  Worship God with a contrite and broken heart, so that what comes out of your mouth and your actions actually means something honoring to Him, because really, that’s far more important that what you bring to the table with your talents and skills.

Coming from one whose pride and ego are always looking for food, my exhortation is this… bring yourself to a place where all the impressive things about you aren’t a big deal to you, simply because even if you didn’t have them, you know that you’re a forgiven sinner, and that is enough.

… even if you look like Larry the Cucumber…

– James Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley Worship Director

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5 responses

8 08 2009
Steven

good insight

10 08 2009
jing

oh my. the more i look at jon and larry, the more i can’t tell them apart..

10 08 2009
Franklin

Thank you, James. This is really good food for thought.

12 08 2009
Dominic

That was well put James – thanks for sharing.

6 06 2013
Edwin

Incidentally, Jon’s brother’s name is Larry, but he doesn’t look like Larry the Cucumber!

But seriously, I couldn’t agree more with what James said in this post.

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