a reason to dance

He was dancing with reckless abandon at the side of the road. Windows down, I knew the music he danced to was alone in his soul. There was no radio, no band, no background song… just the beat of his hand against the sign tucked under his arm.  The dance could only be described as part hip hop, part Native American Tribal dance. From one foot to the other he hopped in rhythm, head bent toward the earth, free arm dancing up and down in front of him.  As he turned to make his hopping, rhythmic way back toward our car I couldn’t help but see the look of sheer exhilaration on his face. Joy unspeakable. He danced not as though no one was watching… He danced in the full knowledge that every eye peering from every windshield at that intersection were firmly on him.

Yet this man was not put on that street corner to dance.  The sign he had tucked beneath his arm announced a “store liquidation sale” and “close-out prices”… This young man was dancing before a store that was going out of business.  He had been hired to stand out in front of a store, waving a sign around to garner passer-by’s attention and curiosity.

But the sign had become secondary to the dance. It was sideways and partially obstructed by the hand that maintained the rhythm for the dance.  He was not waving it in the air, or pointing to the store, or calling to passing by cars… he was just dancing.

And because of that I took notice. Because of his abandoned joy I made a point to read the sign, to try to discern what brought him to that grassy patch at the side of the road. My curiosity was piqued, not by someone yelling into my open window as I drove by, but by someone caught up in the joy of the dance.

My heart dropped a bit as the light changed from red to green. Our moment in his audience had come to an end. As we drove by, he broke from the rhythm long enough to greet us with an enormous wave- you know, the kind that causes your entire body to shift back and forth with its force. Looking me in the eye he smiled from the depth of who he was. He was having so much fun on his grassy stage under the open sky

I thought about his dance as I made my way onto the exit ramp, the smile still crawling across my face. And then all at once it hit me…

This moment of God revealing His heart in the world around us.  Another opportunity to experience His grace in the every day.

This man who danced with such gusto and fervor… had completely forgotten about the work he had been called to that grassy corner to do. Cockeyed sign beneath his arm, obstructed by his dancing body and beating hand... forgotten by the dancer... yet noticed by me. 

How many times have I passed by someone holding the same yellow and red store liquidation sign, and took no notice at all? Dozens and dozens, I am sure. Yet this one who, in fairness, was not doing the thing he had been hired to do particularly well... got my attention.  

The rules looked like standing in front of a store, prominently holding a sign and calling out to cars that drove by. 

Instead he chose to dance. 

And I noticed.

As I thought about his exuberance, his reckless abandon... God brought to mind David's undignified dance before the Ark of the Covenant. His reckless love for God, and how the joy of His presence caused David to lose Himself in worship of the One who He knew to be worthy.  Scripture tells us that he "danced before the Lord with all his might"... dancing before the Lord with all he had! Worshiping with his everything! Like this man on his grassy stage, he gave himself completely over to the joy of the moment. 

How do you live your life before God? 

Have you become so absorbed by the work of holding the "I am a Christian" sign that you have lost the joy of the dance?

I think about that man, hired to hold a sign... yet his JOY was so much more effective in drawing my attention to the great sale going on a parking lot behind him. I think about David, dancing with absolute abandon before the Lord, forgetting the protocol of his kingship in the light of the glory of the King. 

It's not about the work (although He certainly calls us to good works). It's not about doing the right things (although the right things are good). It's about celebrating our God extravagantly!!! It's about dancing before Him with all our might! It's about loving Him with a sold out heart! 

Then those who are around you, those on-lookers who glance toward your grassy stage from the front seats of their cars... will see the JOY you find in the Lord! And seeing your joy, they will come to participate in it, just as that smile spread across my own face. 

Had that man been standing there holding his bright yellow sign toward the sky for all to see, I would not be thinking about him today

People aren't impressed by your "I am a Christian" sign, folks. They are impressed by your joy! By your exuberance in serving! By your abandoned heart! Our "I am a Christian" signs will get the attention of a few, certainly... but our JOY will get the attention of everyone! Without trying, the tribal-hip hop dancer pointed to the store that was advertising a sale. His exuberance got my attention, and then my curiosity led me to search for the sign and uncover the reason for his being there. 

Our lives should look like that! Our lives should point to Christ, to His love, to His grace, whether we are trying to or not. Our ravished hearts should draw the attention of the world, and make them curious.

However, be forewarned friend, that some will not be curious. Some will be furious... as David danced before the Lord, his wife Michal watched from a window, disgusted that he would ignore the proper behavior expected of a king. That's not the way it's supposed to look. That's not the way a proper person acts. That's not the way we have always done it... Don't be discouraged by the naysayers. Respond as David did when he answered "I will celebrate before the Lord! I will become even more undignified than this...!"

We are called to live our lives before the Lord! Dancing our hearts out for an Audience of One! The truth is, some will be offended by your joy... but they are not the ones you live for.  I am sure there were people in cars around me that grumbled about the man dancing to and fro with a sign tucked beneath his arm. But for me, for my daughter... we were inspired to live our lives with joy. And that's worth it. That's worth the price of the dance!!!

I have no idea what reason that man last weekend had for dancing. Maybe he was just full of joy and couldn't help himself. Maybe he was goofing off. Maybe he was bored with his job and he was trying to get fired. Maybe he succeeded...

What I do know is this... we have a reason to dance! 

We have a King whom we can call friend, a God whom we can call Daddy, a Spirit whom we can call comforter.

We have a reason to dance!  

We have FREEDOM in Christ Jesus, forgiveness, joy, peace, love!

We have a reason to dance! 

We have a HOME in HEAVEN, a hope and a future, redeemed souls and sanctified lives!

We have a reason to dance!

I'm not telling you to forget the work. I'm telling you to stick your "I am a Christian" sign under your arm and try using it as an instrument to keep the rhythm for your dancing feet... and worship the King. Not with just a little bit of you... but like David, with everything you have! 

I don't know what David's dance looked like exactly, but somehow, I think it looked a lot like the abandoned, joy-filled man of the man at the side of the road. A tribal mix of dance steps and rhythm... an open heart and abandoned love for his God. David's work was to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the city, but he got lost in his worship... and guess what... the Ark still made it to Jerusalem.

Let's be a people that are so caught up in the worship of our Savior, that the work just flows from us. That like the man at the side of the road, who inadvertently drew my attention to the store behind him, we would draw attention to Jesus through our joyful worship of Him!! 

I promise, you will point to the King with your joyful life so much more effectively than you ever could holding a stoic sign. People will notice your exuberance... your joy, your passion, your love... and their curiosity will drawn them in! And in the meantime, you will be having so much fun dancing on your grassy stage under the open sky....!!!!

Serving God is not drudgery! It is not work! It is the greatest joy we will ever know this side of heaven! It flows from a thankful heart and a sold out life! If the knowledge of Christ's love for you doesn't cause you to get to your feet and move to the rhythm of His heartbeat, I don't know what will... We have a reason to dance! We have a reason for joy! We have a reason to leap from foot to foot, head bowed toward the earth and hand pointing toward the sky! So what do you say, my friend?

...shall we dance?

this has become one of mine and Tali's favorite songs... if you need a dancing rhythm, hit play and get moving!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We shall dance!