I have been enjoying the newest release by country/bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs. Mosaic is a collection of Christian songs (all written or co-written by Skaggs) that express his deep faith. It brought back a wonderful memory when the lovely Mrs. Burchett and I had the joy of watching Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder in concert. After that experience I decided that if I am ever unresponsive you can check my heart status by playing a Ricky Skaggs CD. If my toe doesn't start tapping I am likely flatlined. You just can't help responding if you have a pulse.
I left the concert and waded through Skagg's discography. One song brought back memories of something my Mom always said to me. The song that jogged that recollection was called Don't Get Above Your Raisin'.
Now lookee here gal don't ya' high hat me,
I ain't forgot what you used ta be
When you didn't have nuthin,
That was plain ta' see.
Don't get above your raisin'
Stay down ta' earth with me.
Mom was raised as a farm girl in Kentucky and she was fiercely proud of that. So anytime she perceived that I was getting a bit uppity and full of myself she would throw that line down.
"Don't get above your raisin'!"
Sometimes it was over such important issues as abandoning Maxwell House for that fancy-schmancy gourmet coffee. Usually the comment was meant to keep me grounded (no pun intended) and to remind me where I came from. She let me know that I was from a blue-collar family of simple and hard-working folks. Mom reminded me that I was not better than anyone else and no one was any better than me. Can't say that I always appreciated the input.
I think we do the same thing as Christians. A big reason that we are not more joyful and victorious in this journey is that we forget where we came from. We have forgotten our raisin' and the gift of our salvation. Somehow we forget how desperate we were and start to believe that we were actually deserving. You know, God is pretty fortunate to have me on board. Paul reminds Titus to tell the believers in Crete to remember where they came from.
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. (Titus 3, NLT)
Not too attractive. Nothing to be uppity about. Then the grace of God intervened.
But—"When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."
So that is where I came from. That is where you came from if you are a follower of Jesus. Paul wraps ups this text with a challenge.
This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
My constant challenge is to not get above my raisin' spiritually.
- If I can't forgive then I have forgotten where I came from. I did not deserve to be forgiven by a Holy God. I was.
- When I look with disdain at another person I have forgotten where I came from. That person is a soul that Jesus came to this planet to die for on the cross.
- When I don't accept another brother or sister I have forgotten that I was unacceptable to a Holy God. Jesus said you are acceptable because of Me. We must offer the same grace because of Jesus.
- When I can't serve without expectation of personal return I have forgotten where I came from. If I remember where I came from I will serve because I am grateful for what Christ did for me.
- When I don't give joyfully of my time and treasure I have forgotten where I came from. If you truly understand where you came from the natural response is to serve Him joyfully.
This is important stuff. I don't want to forget where I came from both as a person and as a child of God. My hills of Appalachia and small town roots are a big part of who I am. And my encounter with grace at the foot of the Cross defines who I am spiritually. I pray that I will remember every day who I am and where Jesus brought me from. Take time to remember where you came from. And then respond appropriately.