The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright was given the challenge of building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, one of the most earthquake-prone cities in the world. Wrights investigation showed that a solid foundation could be “floated” on a sixty-foot layer of soft mud underlying the hotel, which would provide a shock-absorbing but solid support for the immense building. Shortly after the hotel was completed it withstood the worst earthquake in fifty-two years, while lesser buildings fell in ruins around it.
Imagine, if you will, that you work for a company whose president found it necessary to travel out of the country and spend an extended period of time abroad. So he says to you and the other trusted employees, “Look, Im going to leave. And while Im gone, I want you to pay close attention to the business. You manage things while Im away. I will write you regularly. When I do, I will instruct you in what you should do from now until I return from this trip.”
Everyone agrees. He leaves and stays gone for a couple of years. During that time he writes often, communicating his desires and concerns. Finally he returns. He walks up to the front door of the company and immediately discovers everything is in a messweeds flourishing in the flower beds, windows broken across the front of the building, the gal at the front desk dozing, loud music roaring from several offices, two or three people engaged in horseplay in the back room. Instead of making a profit, the business has suffered a great loss. Without hesitation he calls everyone together and with a frown asks, “What happened? Didnt you get my letters?”
You say, “Oh, yeah, sure. We got all your letters. Weve even bound them in a book. And some of us have memorized them. In fact, we have letter study every Sunday. You know, those were really great letters.” I think the president would then ask, “But what did you do about my instructions?” And, no doubt the employees would respond, “Do? Well, nothing. But we read every one! “
Nat Wyeth, engineer and inventor, on his brother, artist Andrew Wyeth:
Andy did a picture of Lafayettes quarters near Chadds Ford, Pa., with a sycamore tree behind the building. When I first saw the painting, he wasnt finished with it. He showed me a lot of drawings of the trunk and the sycamores gnarled roots, and I said, “Wheres all that in the picture?” “Its not in the picture, Nat,” he said. “For me to get what I want in the part of the tree thats showing, Ive got to know thoroughly how it is anchored in back of the house.”
I find that remarkable. He could draw the tree above the house with such authenticity because he knew exactly how the thing was in the ground.
Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
Ye call Me Light and see me not,
Ye call Me way and follow me not
Ye call Me Life and desire me not,
Ye call Me wise and acknowledge me not,
Ye call Me fair and love me not,
Ye call Me rich and ask me not,
Ye call Me eternal and seek me not,
Ye call Me gracious and trust me not,
Ye call Me noble and serve me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor me not,
Ye call Me just and fear me not,
If I condemn you, blame me not.
We might miss the strength of these statements (Matt 7:21-23 and here) unless we realize that repeating a persons name is a Hebrew expression of intimacy. When God speaks to Abraham at Mount Moriah, as he is about to plunge the knife into the breast of Isaac, He says, “Abraham, Abraham.” Or when God encourages Jacob in his old age to take the trip to Egypt, He says, “Jacob, Jacob” (Genesis 22:11, 46:2). Compare the call of Moses from the burning bush: “Moses, Moses,” or the call of Samuel in the night, “Samuel, Samuel” (Exodus 3:4; 1 Sam 3:10). Or consider Davids cry of agony, “Absalom, Absalom,” and Jesus cry of desolation on the cross, “My God, my God.” (2 Samuel 18:33; Matt 27:46). When Jesus confronted Martha, when He warned Peter, and when He wept over Jerusalemin each case we find the word repeated for intimacys sake (Luke 10:41; 22:31; Matt 23:37).
Some pretend to have a deep relationship with Christ, but this claim is not borne out in their lives. There are many who say, “Lord, Lord,” while in fact they live in contempt for Christs commandments. “If you love me, you will obey what I command,” said Jesus (John 14:15).