Me, Care for others FIRST, Lord? Are You kidding?!

I used to think that caring for others came easily to me, yet in light of what God has been diligent to show me in the last few days, I can say to myself, “Oh, what a load of hooey!”

The reality of how little I truly care for others is embarrassing, really. How could I have thought I was sitting on the very standard of service for others? I guess I thought I was the standard.

I readily assume that the key to being a great Christian is being great and doing everything right. But, I am learning to reevaluate this idea I have, this hope, of one day being a “great” Christian–if we can even say that there is such a thing (either way I’m still holding onto it with all my might!).

I’m beginning to wonder, what if being great in the context of claiming allegiance to Christ meant moving beyond my person and my performance to something more. What if there was already a quality of greatness about my life that I miss when I try to prove that such a thing exists on my terms?

Half or more of what I’m saying doesn’t even make much sense to me yet, but I share it with you because the fragments of great thoughts are more important to our living than a great presentation of easily digestible concepts. So much of this idea of greatness and being great in the kingdom and doing care and service God’s way is more than I can comprehend now. I am somewhere in the middle, trying to take it all in, hoping He will make it stick in the appropriate ways.

I need to change–He’s making that clear. I don’t get what He sees as greatness and I’m beginning to wish that He didn’t see so clearly what I believe is greatness.

He wants me to love people. Pure and simple. Perhaps, for me, it is too simple. I want people to love me so I do loving acts toward them. It all makes perfect sense–and yet none of it really fits with what God wants to have going on between myself and others.

The point of my interacts at present is to establish myself as the center, the primary interest, and then do all I can to enhance and maintain that. I bring God into it as if He were a neat little item I keep in my handbag rather than inviting Him in as my honored Guest, One I couldn’t dream of being apart from in anything I do.

I have a million little baubles that I can choose to introduce to the other person in my interactions. Testimonies, revelations, ideas and encouragements make great and beautiful conversation pieces. But, have they dwindled into vain tributes that are important to me merely because they give me the privilege of extended face-time before others?

How I wish I could dismiss my own questions here and say that I’m okay. No one else is raising any red flags for me here, why should I need to make my own? I guess because I know my heart enough to see things that concern and grieve me. I could choose to ignore them, but that wouldn’t serve any good purpose.

So what do I do? Stop everything I’m doing because it’s not perfect? Though that is a very appealing option, it would only be an excuse for laziness. But, rather than cease all that I’m doing, I could merely pause to reflect on it and gain fresh insight into what direction I need to be headed in all this action.

Being quiet before the Lord is action–in fact, I think it is one of the most beautiful actions. I usually only engage in it when I know I need to because my normally rowdy action is appearing more and more empty of the Lord. So I take a few moments to recognize His conspicuous absence and invite Him in. I am constantly enacting new designs for the style of my life and I need Him to be contorting them into something closer to what He wants then I can come up with on my own.

I want a bigger understanding of what life is all about. And if that is caring by serving others in a way that will necessarily empty me out rather than fill me up, there is no way that can happen with Him. There is no way I can embrace reducing myself unless He first expands Himself on the inside of me. Then I can rest in the nourishment of His presence that makes all of this care and service happen through me. Now that is a pure delight!