It is so easy to become distracted. I used to live my life as that third seed in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower Matt 13, you know the one, it that grew up as a plant that had a root but still never produced any fruit because it was choked by the weeds. The weeds we are told by Jesus are the deceitfulness of wealth and the cares of this world. It is still, even after, I know better, easy to become entangled by all of the stuff that comes my way. I mean, come on man, do you not see that I am trying to pay my bills in a global recession? My portfolio is is insipid, my house has lost much of its value and the cost of gas and the groceries are getting to be ridiculous! How do you not get choked out by it all?
There are, I am sure, a seminar full of possible answers to that question. For me the key to sanity in Christ while living in a world seemingly bent on challenging that sanity is simple. It is just this, do for others less blessed than yourself. I told you it was simple. The real problem with doing for others is, that it is hardest to do when you need to do it the most. When your job is in jeopardy, when you are feeling old, when a critical relationship is troubled. Or on the other side of the weeds, when everything is going really well and the acquistion of the new house, or the vacation house is beckoning to you, or the boat or the sports car or… you fill in the blank. It is at those times when our souls turn inward and away from God. It seems like it is our turn to be paid attention to. And if others won’t do it [and we really wish they would] we will just have to do it ourselves. So where is the middle ground?
In proverbs 30:8 and 9 we have the words of Agur who was trying to find the right balance for his life and so he prayed to the Lord, “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” Agur recognized that at either end of the spectrum his soul would turn inward which he judges as, “disowning or dishonoring God”. Have you ever looked at the act of focusing on yourself as disowning or dishonoring God?
I have found, in my life that we can only honor God with Hesed, that state of being that puts others ahead of ourselves. Turning outward rather than succumb to the temptation to turn inward. We then look like the Son of God, who came to be the servant of all men. That is our calling as Christians and that is where, we really do feel the most satisfied with the state of our lives. For me that translates into missions, whether it is building churches or looking after the needs of widows and orphans in their time of distress. It is only “out there” where I feel I am in balance and weed free. So many of our team members have humbled me with their willingness to greatly sacrifice themselves in order to go and do for others. As I said, I must go. It is my way of weeding the garden. What is yours?