“I am not an eager beaver!” My four-year-old sister’s screams flooded the apartment. As unfortunate as it may seem, those screams of protest were a common occurrence in our small apartment. When I was in grade school, my two sisters and I were in Pathfinders, just like every other good Seventh-day Adventist child. I loved the uniforms, the drills, the survival learning. I was enamored with the whole program. My younger sister was in Adventurers, which made me feel even more important.
For some reason, she detested being a little beaver. Every Wednesday at the church she gladly participated in her little group activities and loved it. Then came the days we had to wear our uniforms, mercy did she put on a fuss. We always had to drag our little curly-headed reluctant beaver out the door on Sabbath mornings, wearing that dreaded shirt.
I always was puzzled as to why she hated that shirt, I asked her many years later and she could not remember why. However comical the story may seem, every one of us has been guilty, at one point or another, of being reluctant beavers. Even the church of Laodicea was guilty of that. The apostle John writes, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (New International Version, Revelation 3:15). Maybe we do not go down with a fight like my sister did, that would give it away, but how often do we pretend to love a life we cannot stand? How often do we go through the motions of church, prayer meeting, Pathfinders, or even Christianity, with a begrudging heart? That lack of passion is unfair to us, but even more so to God.
Any parent will tell you that one of the attributes they desire most from their children is honesty, and rightfully so. It helps us feel honored, respected, loved, and valued whenever our children can be honest with us, even if it is something as insignificant as a cut or a scrape. Our heavenly Father wants the same gift from us, do we not owe Him at least that much? Going through the motions does not mean that we are doing what is right, it is of more value to be an honest sinner than a hypocritical saint. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (New American Standard Bible, Matthew 23:25,26). With these strong words, Christ reprimanded the religious leaders of His time who believed that by looking the part, they were living a Godly life.
“I am not an eager beaver!” That plea changed my life. I purposed in my heart that if I was going to be a Seventh-day Adventist, I was going to be proud of it and love and defend everything this church stands for. I was going to believe it and live it out in my life. It took me a long time to make that decision and for three years, I thought that decision was not for me. I left the church and “lived” my life, realizing that what I had grown up believing was the key to a happy life. I was not fair to offer God a reluctant spirit, it was not fair to offer God a life that he could not mold. It is not fair to live the life God gave you lying to others and to yourself.
I was looking through Pinterest a few days ago and found a simple Tumblr picture without an author, however, its message was priceless. The picture read, “Don’t let your lips and your lives preach two different messages”. Love God enough to be honest with Him and to give you every part of your life. Do not be a reluctant Christian, do not be an un-eager beaver.