He's the one I work with, sorry for. You may have heard of him. He's there in every meeting I attend and since I work for a church, most meetings are about him. Occasionally I take time out to ask him what he thinks of this or that decision but most of the time I assume I know what he wants, I've read his book after all.
I want people to follow him, and I'd love to introduce people to him but in reality I don't much like talking to strangers and it's hard to change someone's mind about the type of toothpaste they use, let alone the god they worship. Surely he knows that.
I do want him to be worshipped and honoured as the ruler and king that he is. In our church services I want to sing and shout and dance and delight, but I sang this song last week, and the week before that and I'd really rather sit down and listen to a talk about him (it's far less demanding).
I do love working with, sorry for Jesus but it's just that he follows me home as well. If I could do a job and say goodnight at the end of the day it might be ok. I could clock out and go home and do what I want - on my own time.
I'd like to tick off my to-do list and tell him what I've done and how I tried to point more people to him. Maybe I could get the occasional bonus (or be the recipient of a church member's Spirit-led generosity) for my labour.
The trouble is (and it is a trouble) he's more concerned with my marriage than with my ministry - oh wait that's not the right distinction is it? I mean he cares more about how I speak to Amy than he does about how many emails I replied to that day, and that's a nuisance. I wish I could impress him simply by putting in more hours, by showing him how devoted I am. I wish I could gain his approval by avoiding certain films or by swearing less. I wish my colleague (sorry my boss) would give me clearer targets, ones that could be ticked off and filed away. That way I'd be able to show off how good I am.
In short I wish I could be left alone when I'm at home. I'd like to emotionally withdraw to build a castle and live in it and have him make no demands on me. I wish I could indulge in my selfishness and be answerable to no-one.
I only wish I could be left to build my own kingdom where I'm appreciated and respected (but from a distance so that I'm not bothered too much) by all. I wish people would speak highly of me and make their every decision only after consulting me (and afterwards give me the credit for any success they experience). I wish every sermon could have a reference to my piety and talent or humility and authenticity, that every illustration had me as its example. I wish I could set trends in fashion and influence people's shopping habits. In short I wish people would acknowledge my brilliance so that I wouldn't have to try and prove it to them.
The trouble is that Jesus, as much as he is my colleague (and my boss), is my friend and my redeemer. The trouble is (and it is a trouble) that Jesus doesn't care too much about what I do as a day job, but only how I do it. Jesus is far less concerned with externals than I wish he'd be. If only I could pull the wool over his eyes. If only he'd be happy with my TV presenter persona, the image I present to the world or to the church.
What a (insert sufficiently watered down and less religious sounding version of 'wretched' here) man that I am. More like the Father of Lies than my Father in Heaven.
Who will save me from this body of death and wickedness and self-centered, ego-stroking life of mine?
Thanks be to Jesus, my colleague from hell - but my saviour and rescuer from heaven.