I’m glad God is stretching me. Today I realized an important lesson that he has slowly worked into me that once was a struggle at one time. I was talking to a friend of mine tonight over 29 cent wings at Crabby Joes and he was telling me how well my old church was doing. I was excited. This was almost an odd feeling for me. It was exciting to see my old church getting into the community and serving them. I loved it when he started telling me how many children are being affected by their outreaches and programs. I was excited to see my old church move forward in such leaps and grow so much in Christ.
Two years ago, I might have been a little different at responding to this. Two years ago I probably would have just said ‘that’s what I’ve been telling them to do for the past year, it’s about time.’ I realize now how selfish of an answer that was.
I find that many times our concern for people is never a concern for people at all; it’s more of a longing for us to be right. The classic answers ‘I told you so’ and ‘That’s what I’ve been saying all along’ are answers that point not to how smart we are, but simply to how much attention we want. Sometimes we can even get angry when people start to come around. Look at Jonah. He was commanded to go preach to Nineveh and after being eaten and whining and drowning he finally found himself there and was able to push out eight words. The entire nation repented. Jonah was devastated and angry at God. He thought they deserved what was coming to them and was angry when they actually chose the right way.
I’m so glad that it was not a feeling of anger or jealousy or pride that welled up inside me when I found out about my own church. It was exciting that I was excited for what they are doing for God. I pray that God keeps all of our motives in check. It’s easy to be happy for our friends and family. It’s somewhat hard though to be happy for those we have a history with.
Are we really correcting people or concerned for people because of their own well being? Or is it so we are right? Or do we like the idea of us concerning for people because maybe it takes the concern off of us? A lot of the times I am more excited that I was right than I am for the person that has recovered or turned from what they were in. Pretty selfish, I know. I pray that we would love people for people, and not just as tools to make us feel better about ourselves.