Are we ‘got to’s or ‘get to’s? That’s today’s burning question. Here are a few possible scenarios (out of thousands!) to help us move closer to determining the answer:
1. We’re ten years old and mom calls us to set the table for dinner.
a. Got to says: Ah, man! I just want to finish reading my book. Now I’ve got to stop.
b. Get to says: All right! I get to help mom out with one small, simple task.
2. Still 10, and dad asks us to help him stack firewood.
a. Got to says: Ah, man! I’m gonna get all dirty and sweaty! Now I’ve got to go do that!
b. Get to says; Yes! I get to spend time working alongside dad!
3. We’re 16, with our driver’s license and dad asks us to wash the car.
a. Got to says: Why me? Why do I always have to do it? I hate it when I’ve got to do that!
b. Get to says: Sure! I get to drive it sometimes and doing this will make Dad happy.
You get the picture, I think. There’s a lot involved in our responses to these, and many other, requests. Of course, our maturity counts. Our personality, tastes, attitudes, the condition of our hearts – these all play a part. Maybe first, though, is our level of awareness of being in relationship to the one asking. Do we feel we belong? Do we know that we are accepted/loved? Do we recognize/appreciate the rewards of being an active participant in the relationship? Have we nurtured a sense of entitlement in the relationship? Do we harbor grudges, Ill-will, unforgiveness toward that person? Is there a perverse pleasure in denying the request? Do we (intentionally?) misjudge the motivation of the asker?
Back to the disciples. Among them, most certainly, there was a wide range of maturities, personalities, tastes, attitudes, heart conditions (the non-medical variety). Someone has put forth the idea that when we are pressed or squeezed, the real ‘us’ comes out, for good or bad. The twelve had been caught in an emotional vise grip. The greater their love for Jesus, the greater the opposition and hatred from voices of authority. The more they believed Jesus was the long-awaited, much-prophesied Messiah, the more vehement the culture war with its raging refusal to believe. The more they chafed for Rome’s demise, the bleaker those possibilities seemed. The more they clung to their own interpretation of Jesus’ role, the more toxic their lived reality. When Jesus rose from the grave, it was like he took the nearly completed 2500-piece jigsaw puzzle they’d been putting together and threw it up in the air, the pieces landing back down in maddening chaos. The ‘got to’s’ would have been rudely confronted with their sense of personal injustice. The ‘get to’s’ would have more readily positioned themselves to embrace the opportunities Jesus was now granting. For myself, I recognize a massive work (in progress) of grace, inching me over the gritted teeth ‘got to’ boundary into the joy unspeakable and full of glory ‘get to’ territory. And you? PD