Living Beyond Self, Part II
Since my reading of Crazy Love, the Lord has impressed so many things upon my heart, giving me opportunity to think more about the point made about Obsession for Christ and living outside of what makes me comfortable or safe. Francis Chan’s book reflects on many known and unknown Christians who have made extreme sacrifices so that people that were suffering or who had very little would have the gospel…would be receivers of God’s love. (George Muller, for example.) There were so many mentioned that have gone to foreign countries as missionaries or just to live a simple life and give whatever money and time they could to those who needed love.
I don’t know if I will ever go go Africa or South America, but I began to reflect on the people in my church. Do I always have the desire to go to church? Well, since I am speaking transparently, I would have to say, “no.” I don’t know how many of you respond to that, but I am realizing more and more that there is a need in my church that I am missing out on most of the time. I don’t always live beyond self. I don’t take the chances that my church affords me to BE LOVE. I look to all these great examples of sacrifice, thinking that I want God to use me in the same way, while all along there are poverty stricken people (spiritually, financially, emotionally) that sit 10 feet away from me on Sunday morning. Just across the aisle Cindy or Tom are struggling with the loss of a job, or their home, or their trust in God to provide. Some of them are discouraged in their walk with the Lord because no one has really reached out to them…no one has taken time to learn about their struggle, they haven’t knelt with them in prayer.
We usually will take plenty of time to reach out to those with whom we are most familiar. My pastor has attempted to teach our congregation what he calls the 5-minute rule. At the end of the service, take 5 minutes to find someone who you wouldn’t usually talk to and spend a moment to find out about them, their week, their needs, their personality. It is unfortunate that I often do not take this opportunity to reach out. I don’t need to go to Africa to do something that I should be doing on a daily basis, right where God has me.
I NEED TO BE LOVE
See, we often go to church, looking for people just like us, that we can relate to. While sometimes I believe God stretches us to be able to learn from and even teach to people that aren’t like us. The least likely candidate for my friendship may be just the person who has experienced my struggle in their lives and could share guidance as to how they received godly wisdom to work through it. I will miss out on that opportunity if I refuse to step outside of where I feel comfortable and safe. I shouldn’t need anyone to teach me how to do this. As a believer, I have the Spirit of God that lives within me. Why should I need to ask, “Is it God’s will for me to show love to this person?” I pray that I would submit to the Spirit’s will for my life today and every day. It will take stretching at times. I don’t always want to reach out….there are days when I would rather be a recluse. But how can I waste a day of God’s love?
Going along with this whole theme, I was also impressed upon by a devotional that comes to my email daily. Take a moment to read, and be blessed as I was. Then, apply it to your life and look for the opportunity GOD is giving you daily to BE LOVE
Jesus said, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43b-45).
Good goers have the gumption to get involved and even get messy if needed. They initiate service to others in the name of Jesus. They don’t wait for the needy to come to them—instead they are quick to show up and serve. It may mean going to someone from church and leaving an anonymous gift to relieve pressure from their huge medical bills. Perhaps the Lord is calling you to short or long-term missions to love the poor and needy.
It could be keeping the lawn of a neighbor who travels a lot, or paying a mechanic to repair the car of a single mom. Being a good goer for you could involve opening your home to a prodigal who is trying to find their way, but they desperately need an environment of love, hope and acceptance. Good goers have the uncanny ability to look around them, and, like a radar, lock onto those who need a helping hand.
The Lord Jesus could have demanded to be served, but on the contrary served. He did not use His position for Himself, but for others. He “…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).
It is bold and unnatural to make yourself nothing for the sake of others, but this is the way of Christ. He takes your nothing and makes it something of great significance. However, as you follow Jesus, you are on the track for greatness, because you will engage your time and money for others in His name. So break free from feeling like you can’t get involved and become great for God, by going to where it’s messy and serve.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).
Who is God calling me to serve—those that others are passing by unnoticed?