Don’t Think of You

maxresdefault

Earlier this week I found out that the mother of a long-time friend is fighting for her life. I was told she’s in hospice and may not make it through the week. My understanding is that cancer came upon her pretty quick.

I’ve also been concerned about a long-time friend who has been battling cancer. She’s been sick for quite some time and has spent the past few weeks in hospice. Every day I check the Facebook page of a mutual friend to see if she’s still with us.

A few days ago I began emailing with a friend from high school who I’ve recently connected with. We haven’t seen each other since graduation, and I was told a story of this single parent who has raised a severely handicapped child. I cannot even begin to imagine what day-to-day life must be like for them. (And yet, the days seem to be faced with joy.)

Another friend lost her baby brother this week, the second brother she’s lost in the past few years.

With these events in the forefront of my mind, I’m finding I have less tolerance for some of the things that people say and do. Jealously, insecurity, pettiness, back-biting, gossiping and a what-about-ME attitude is becoming annoying.

Life is so incredibly short, and as I get older I’m focusing on what really matters – other people. There are so many true needs out there: hurts, desires, longings, even basic everyday provisions.

Don’t think only of yourself – how you’ve been overlooked, offended or left out. Don’t complain. Don’t argue. Don’t have a bad attitude.

You may be perfectly healthy in body, but how is your mind? Is it sick? Are you self-centered? Do you only think and talk about yourself? Or do you lay down your own passions and desires to help others succeed? Maybe somebody needs a listening, understanding ear. Maybe they need an arm around them as they struggle through hardships, loss and pain – or grief. Maybe they need to know they are special, important and have worth and value.

When I think of the process of losing a loved one, or even the loss of a life that was expected while young to take care of a loved one while older, the things we get upset about in the day-to-day are so small and trivial.

Before you complain about being offended or hurt next time, ask yourself if it’s really that big of a deal in the overall scheme of life.

My pastor showed this video by Francis Chan a few months ago. This life and its struggles are nothing compared to serving Jesus and living all of eternity.

Advertisements

Poke Your I Out

IMG_0541

We live in a very narcissistic society. Life has become about our comfort, our entertainment, our activities, our interests and selfies abound on social media.

But this isn’t what Jesus teaches us. He teaches us to put others first.

Philippians 2:4 (MSG)

Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

This doesn’t come natural for us, at least not for me. It takes thought and effort to put others before my own desires.

We can become distracted when we don’t get our way: jealousy, envy, selfishness, anger. Know what? These are some of the grace-killers mentioned in Galatians 5:20-21.

But earlier in Galatians 5, we’re told to serve one another through love, because of the freedom we have in Christ.

As we minister to our pastors, leaders and congregation it’s important to poke our “I” out. It cannot be about what I want, what I need, where I can get comfort or what job I can do. It’s about serving others.

It’s also about serving God. We weren’t meant to be comfortable in this world. We should be more comfortable with God than with the spirit of this world. That means we may have to give up our desires for what is best for the kingdom.

Bless your pastor by putting others first.