Last Sunday was a very . . . unsettling day. I tried to binge on Netflix after Church as per the usual, but I couldn’t get something off my mind. Pastor talked about priorities; that wasn’t the main point, but it’s what it home . . . what I ran with.
I drifted away while he continued; as I took stock of my priorities the overwhelming consensus was that mine are off. I go to work for myself, workout for myself, enjoy entertainment for myself. Speaking primarily about time and energy, even money I suppose, I couldn’t think of any dedicated to anyone or anything other than self. Sure I tithe and play guitar for worship service, but that’s not enough.
This bothered me to no end; I’m well acquainted with how Father feels about this such as Jesus’ words on separating the sheep and goats, leaving a gift at the altar to go make things right with another person, and the like. He doesn’t need anything from me; one of the recurring themes is serving others in His name.
I’m thankful for moments like these . . . moments when I’m confronted with the inability to continue as I’m going because I know better. I just couldn’t figure out where to start.
There’s a person in my life I find it very difficult to respect. He is likable, generally friendly, would do almost anything to help anyone; he also is very . . . untruthful, asks ridiculous questions, seamlessly transitions from talking about God to filthy language, talks incessantly. There are many things he does wrong, but I was suddenly overwhelmed with how awful I have been. God knows his flaws just as He knows mine; that doesn’t excuse the things I have said behind his back, the times I’ve been ice-cold when he could use the love of a Jesus follower, the general disdain I’ve given a home to.
That was the starting place, to do something selfless for someone who would be one of the most difficult. I did. It was difficult. BUT, it felt good. It felt right. I have since began the practice of attempting one act for someone else each day; I have failed at times sure, but it’s a start. That’s really all we can do: start where we are with what we’ve got and do our best. Our best wouldn’t amount to much if we’re trying to impress God, but Jesus claimed that the smallest act of kindness for even the least of His brethren would be counted as if we had done it for Him. I believe Him.
Not too long ago I was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, basically asthma in my throat instead of my lungs. Attempts to figure out what food is causing this have been dead ends. We found some things I’m allergic to, but I already knew them and avoided them. As I daydreamed about writing this post I couldn’t help but think, “I wish it could be an allergy to selfish, one that only required me to do kind things for others.” It would be a great incentive to keep up the work and a simple solution to a complicated problem.
But isn’t God’s opinion enough, enough to drive us into rejecting our natural tendency for self service?
What if we made up our minds and lived as if we were allergic to selfish?
What if we purposefully were kind to those who are the biggest challenges?
Imagine your boss, coworker, or family member . . . the one who gets on your nerves the most. Imagine him or her starting to wonder if maybe there is something to this Jesus stuff, wondering why you return kindness to rudeness, wondering if they can have your peace, the love you enjoy from Heaven.
This one thing. It could be a game changer.