I have a young friend who is in her first year at a rigorous college on the other side of the country. I’ve been set to send a small care package and I wanted to write something encouraging to her. Day after day has gone by as I’ve pondered what to write. She is an extremely intelligent young lady who is strong in her faith. She has already traveled the world through numerous missions trips and foreign exchanges. This woman has more determination and drive than anyone I’ve ever known. I, on the other hand, have little formal education, have lived in the same small community my entire life, and am a definite Type B personality. What could slightly flaky, laid-back, middle-aged me possibly have to say to my young, Type A, can-do-anything friend?
As I prayed about it, the Lord reminded me that He created us so differently for a purpose. While her gifts and talents are of the mountain-moving variety, mine are much less visible. I am intensely introspective and analytical. I observe and ponder and wonder at things. And while all this may not be very flashy or interesting, it is how my creator designed me and He has a purpose for it.
Then something strange ran through my mind. I thought, “There are sure some great life lessons to be had from Star Trek.” It was totally off-the-wall, yet it would not go away. And, as is often the case, once the thought took hold it began to sprout legs and breathe. Since it was obviously taking on life, I decided to roll with it. So here goes.
People are weird. Love them anyway.
Star Trek was revolutionary when it began in the sixties. The diversity of the main crew was highly unusual in that day. As the franchise has evolved, we see a vast array of life forms. People with facial ridges, pointy ears, and blue or spotted skin are common place in this near-utopian world. It is a place where Human, Vulcan, Ferengi and Klingon live, work and play together. So what can this teach us?
In the body of Christ we will come across many who are very very different from ourselves. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that everyone you meet is in some way bent, broken or disfigured. Love them anyway. Some will worship in a different fashion; some will do things in unusual ways. Some will even hold different interpretations of scripture. However, we are all of one body. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35, NLT) When we love each other as Christ would have us do, the world will see something fresh and hopeful. (Note: I am not advocating accepting twisted teachings—my comments assume a scenario with genuine grounded believers.)
A signature move can get you out of all sorts of trouble.
In the original Star Trek series, the Captain, James T. Kirk, had a stylin’ way of avoiding trouble. In almost every episode he would do his signature dive/roll to narrowly avoid some harrowing danger. Many young boys raised on the original series have practiced the famed ‘Captain Kirk Roll’ in their boyhood adventures. And who can blame them?
I know you think I’ve gone off my rocker here, but bear with me. Kirk’s move was instinctive and swift. It saved his hide countless times and, as an added bonus, he looked pretty groovy. Because we are dwelling places of the Holy Spirit, we face dangers of the spiritual variety more than the physical. How do we duck/dive/roll out of trouble’s way? By knowing God’s Word. When we have scripture hidden in our hearts, it is readily available to help us combat temptations, lift our spirits, and give us wisdom. Get your own signature move; find a life verse, or two, or three that you can swiftly and instinctively pull out in times of need. Know what God’s Word says, and you will avoid loads of trouble.
Get rid of the expendable fifth crew member.
Sci-fi nerds everywhere are familiar with the infamous ‘expendable fifth crew member’. In all good science fiction stories there is a crew member who is in the scene purely for the alien or monster to devour. The expendable crew member is easy to pick out because it is usually someone we have no vested interest in; often a new or unlikeable character. We can’t have our beloved heroes maimed or eaten, now can we? So who is the expendable crew member for the Christian?
As Christians, we are intertwined with a triune God. So in my life there is: God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, me, and the inner critic. You know the inner critic. That voice inside that tells you how inept you are. That God doesn’t really love you, listen to you, or talk to you. That you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, gifted enough, whatever enough. The inner critic is our expendable fifth crew member. We must dispense with him whenever he shows up on the scene. I used to struggle with my inner critic a lot. Now I don’t allow him to take up residence in my head anymore. (You can read that story here.) The Apostle Paul said, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, NLT) That’s good enough for me.
Why Star Trek has filled my mind in such a way today, I don’t know. Perhaps it is because of the premise it was built on. The Star Trek universe is a vision of hope that the future is going to be better, not worse. And how much more do we Jesus junkies have to look forward to? Our future is far better than any imaginary utopia. All too often, in the day to day difficulties, I forget this truth. So, while I am no closer to having any words of wisdom for my ambitious young friend, it has been an interesting day for musings.
May you love as Jesus loves, may you know and own His love letter to you, and may you dispense with that pesky fifth crew member and listen only to His voice.
And, of course, may you live long and prosper.