Tailgate Buddies

When I was in high school, my friends and I would take off to cruise the main drag in town. After we got bored with that, we’d head over to a certain bank parking lot and hang out. We’d get there sometimes 2 trucks at a time but mainly it would start at 1 with a couple guys. We’d drop the tailgate to sit on and just start talking. Not long after that, another group with more of our buddies would show up and back their truck over to us. They’d drop their tailgate and join the conversation. It wouldn’t be long before we had a small circle of pick ups backed in together, tailgates down and a close number of true friends sharing hearts with one another.

 This went on almost every night during summer vacation and during school it was at least 2 to 3 nights a week. We’d stay all hours of the night talking and laughing together. It would only seem like a few minutes when hours would pass. I miss those times. They were good for me.
 Every one of us in the tailgate circle new everything about each other. That’s how close of a relationship we had. We knew not just what was public knowledge, but the deep things; faults, insecurities, dreams, deepest darkest secrets. We confided in one another with full trust; best friends.

 While we sat there, other people would drive by and swing their vehicle in the parking lot to see what we were talking about and sometimes join the conversation or start a conversation with one of the guys in the core group. The others that would show up were ones that we knew but didn’t really know. We didn’t know them like we knew each other; their heart. Sometimes, people would show up and I’d hear one of my buddies ask, “who is that?”. Another would reply, “oh, that’s so and so”. Someone else would chime in with, “what’s their story?”. “I don’t really know” would be the popular response. Not that we were stuck up or not willing to let anyone else in to our circle, we just didn’t really know who they were cause we never took the time to get to know them.

 Matthew Chapter 7, verse 21-23 is probably one of THE scariest passages in the Bible, if not the most frightening. In this passage, Jesus is saying that not everyone who says to Him “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who does the will of His Father will enter.
 Let’s take a look really quick at the word “Lord” in this passage. The word Lord in this verse is defined as someone of ultimate authority. It is said submissively by the speaker. It describes acknowledging Jesus as Master. Merely saying that Jesus is Lord is meaningless; those who do so must also demonstrate obedience to His Father’s will. Just as Jesus did what God required, His followers should as well.

Now, lets look at the end of verse 21 where it says “but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”. What is "the will of The Father"? John 6:40 says (this is Jesus speaking), “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on that last day.” (ESV) How many times do we hear others or even ourselves say “I believe” and yet, may not realize exactly what it means to truly believe. See, James 2:19 says that even the demons believe. The only difference is that at the end of the verse it states “and shudder”. They know who Jesus is and what awaits them in the end. How many of us realize that? The true definition of believe in  John 6:40 is: believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance.

 What if our relationship with Jesus was that of a “tailgate buddy”? You see, we didn’t just hang out like “guys hang out”. We celebrated with each other, we cried with each other, we carried burdens for each other. We were best friends.

 The will of the Father is for us to know Jesus like this. To have such a love for Him that He is involved in our every moment; celebrating with us, crying with us, and even carrying our burdens. He should be the one we are sharing a tailgate with. To be the one who shows up and stands outside along the bed of the truck is unfortunate.

 Where are you? Is your relationship with Jesus like this? Let the Holy Spirit search your heart and reveal it to you. If you discover that it is not this way, it’s not too late. The foot of the cross is broad enough for everyone. Surrender your heart to the Lord, fully. Delight yourself in His Word. Commit yourself in this relationship. Caution is then thrown into the wind. Hesitation is cast aside. Complete love, trust and reliance will soon follow.

 Jesus is waiting. He has a spot saved on the tailgate just for you.