Last week John Piper (the author and preacher from the states) was here in Ethiopia speaking at our church, and I gotta tell you, I walked away feeling convicted. I am not sure if you have had the chance to listen to this man speak, but he really has a gift for clarity.
Let me explain.
He spoke about the call we all have as Christians to show love to those around us and brought a much needed spotlight to a few very powerful verses in 2 Corinthians where Paul talks about the joys of giving, and loving the least of these. I could not help but feel convicted.
What I realized is that recently I have gotten myself stuck in something that I think should be called the “gifting trap”, what I mean is that I have been going around telling everyone (and myself) that I am gifted in the area of administration. Which sounds all good and great except for when one uses it as an excuse for not helping out in other areas. For someone like me than means that I have been putting myself in the office and letting the rest of the people around me deal with all of the more hands on ministry tasks.
Someone needs to clean up the garbage area? Not me, I have a budget to review.
Some of our staff need one on one training? Not me, I have a strategy meeting to plan.
A child needs a ride to the doctor? Not me, I have expense reports to review.
You see how this can get out of hand? I was so excited about the fact that I feel fulfilled serving in the area of administration and financial management that I dug my nose into my computer and stared at spreadsheets, or emails all day instead of opening myself up to be ready for whatever needs arose.
“I keep the place running” I tell myself as I dig my heels in, open my computer and get to work planning what our expenses will look like next month.
I felt in this message that God was calling me to look around me each day to find ways to love the least of these.
Jon Piper told a story about a man in the 1800’s who was traveling to New York City where he was to receive an inheritance of 1 million dollars. On the road his carriage broke down and he was forced to walk the last mile of the way to his meeting. If we were to see that man complaining about how his ankles hurt and how hard it was to walk on that road we would laugh at him, telling him to stop complaining and instead walk with joy because of this great gift that he was about to receive.
“So what that you have to walk, you are about to become very rich!”
In the same way our lives here on earth are but a small vapor, lasting only seconds compared to the eternity in heaven that we have with God, and yet we complain about our jobs, and finances, about our marriages, or our ankles hurting. We live as though our faith in God were a means to more of what we have here on earth, instead of the beautiful eternity with Christ, and if you are like me you get focused on giving in the area you feel you are good at, and sometimes that becomes a problem for us because we stop loving in the ways that really help.
God got a hold of me this week in this area, and challenged me, then put a challenge in front of me where our family could step out and do something to help, and no, its not in the area of administration. (I just love it when he does this, prepares our hearts for something, and then gives us an opportunity to jump all in)
I hope all of us can learn to give more of ourselves in all areas of our lives, in spending time caring for someone, in picking up the garbage area that is such a mess, in giving of our finances, and yes even in administration.
It is a pleasure to give, one that I hope to learn more and more about as each year passes in my life.