Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's all about the joy!

OK, somebody mentioned (in response to my suffering series) that I might be a bit on the edge. That maybe I am working too hard to impress God or to be a "super Christian". I think the exact quote was the "Tiger Woods of Christians". Yikes. If that is the impression I left then I said EVERYTHING wrong. Let me try to clarify a few things.

1. I am NOT actively seeking for huge, meaningless, calamity to come into my life.

2. I do NOT expect to ever impress God, nor do I think it is possible, nor do I think that is God's desire for me.

The suffering or sacrifices that I was referring to choosing had nothing to do with wanting to impress God by experiencing pain. I was thinking more about cutting out my cable and cell phone so that I have money to send to missionaries(boy does that sound lame!) or choosing to take the time to plan menus and cook to avoid big bills eating out. These are tiny things to be sure, but they are done with a servants heart and a desire to see more people come to know the Lord. Then there are slightly larger sacrifices such as taking in a foster child knowing full well that not only will I be sleep deprived for a few months, but my heart will be broken in two when they leave. All of these things are choices I will make that require something from me, in order that more people will know the love of Christ. There are people who sacrifice so much more - the Livesay's are serving in Haiti with their entire family as are Lori and Licia. They have given up the comforts and securities of living in America for the sake of others. They want to be there to physically be the hands and feet of Jesus. What I am doing is soooooo small. If anyone is the "Tiger Woods of Christians" it would be them. So to sum up:

1. I DO fully expect suffering to come into my life that is not of my own choosing and I pray that I can glorify God in that and point people to His all-sustaining grace.
2. The choices I make regarding what has been entrusted to me matter in the Kingdom of God and I hope I will choose more and more based not on my level of comfort, but on my level of compassion and love for others.
3. It is quite possible that God could ask me to make a much larger sacrifice and suffer more than my present tiny amount. If/when that happens I want to be ready to say "YES" without hesitation.

"And he who had received the five talents came forward bringing five talents more, saying 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more'. His Master said to him 'Well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master."
Matthew 25:20-21

When we start to see the world the way God sees it, and start caring about the things He cares about we can only find true joy in doing His work. Working for the kingdom or suffering for the kingdom ultimately leads to the only pure joy you will ever know. He has entrusted us with much and I for one want to be a good steward of it and to enter into the joy of my Master!

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting, He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalm 126:5-6

1 comment:

Emily said...

I completely understand what you are saying here, and I too struggle with feeling like I put too much into the things of this world rather than the kingdom of God. Our pastor has been challenging us with this exact concept recently and it's been tough! My flesh wants me to ignore what I know I must surrender. I love you so much and love reading the thoughts of your heart...it's beautiful!